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Make Love Not War|
Written and performed by Michael Kearns
Playwrights Arena, Moving Arts, Los Angeles, California
Review by Bill Kaiser
Michael Kearns has personified the issue of war and peace through his solo vignettes of seven diverse characters, who are affected by the unending war in Iraq. The simplicity of the setting — a stool, a stand with script and an actor communicating with his audience — are the essence of theater.
The power of the words and the transition from character-to-character are amazing. He has matured an art form that began with his piece “Intimacies,” which dealt with people’s struggles with AIDS. In Kearns’ previous works he used props like a red scarf to delineate his characters.
Now, he creates character transitions through inflections in his voice, the deft lighting by Ray Thompson, and the sound design aptly done by Bob Blackburn. The success of the evening must be also shared by the superb direction by Jon Lawrence Rivera.
The characters and their words are the tour de force of Michael Kearns. The diverse characters created by Kearns include: an African-American whose new lover is killed by a landmine, the separated parents of another young Asian man killed in Iraq, and a gay man and his partner who help a neighboring widow and her young sons piece their lives back together.
This poignant powerful work should be seen by all who advocate peace, but more importantly it should be seen by those who support this war, and those who lead us into senseless wars.
Michael Kearns has featured in the world of art and politics for more than three decades, combining a mainstream career in film and television with prolific theatrical experience that includes writing, acting, directing, and producing.
He has been associated with dozens of solo shows, including many that he wrote and performed, such as “Intimacies,” “Rock,” “Attachments,” and “Make Love Not War.”
He is author of “T-Cells & Sympathy,” “Acting = Life” (both nominated for Lambda Awards), “Getting Your Solo Act Together,” and “The Solo Performer’s Journey.”