WHAT IS  ZOO DISTRICT ?

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BACK STAGE

"The courage and daring of this company are awe inspiring."

PAT TOWNE AS MURK

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In 1996 in the Downtown Arts District of Los Angeles Wolfskill Theatre produced Drums in the Night by Bertolt Brecht. Several members of the company of the production soon went on to form ZOO DISTRICT THEATRE COMPANY in 1997. It began as a collective of writers, musicians, visual artists, designers, and performers who were interested in fusing the forms of this artistically vital community into a greater experience of theatre.

The name "ZOO DISTRICT"came from one of the settings in Drums in the Night. It’s the seedy, downtrodden, low-rent section of town inhabited largely by artists and free thinkers, and where revolution first erupts in Brecht’s play.

ZOO DISTRICT'S first home was Art Share Los Angeles which was a new organization dedicated to fostering burgeoning artists by exhibiting new work, creating affordable housing for emerging artists, and nurturing the wealth of local talent of the Arts District by giving them with a roadmap to find financial success and to gain exposure.

As ZOO DISTRICT grew it became a dominant force in the Los Angeles theatre scene being nominated for and winning several awards for excellence in theatre.

ZOO DISTRICT was also the first American theatre company to be invited to perform on the Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theatre stage in Kiev, Ukraine as a part of the First Annual Bulgokov Festival with its production of HEART  OF A DOG - Zoo District's own staged adaptation of the Mikhail Bulgokov novella.

PAT TOWNE was a co-founder and served on the Artistic Board and as the Company Manager for Zoo District from its earliest days, as well as directing and performing in several of its shows - information on which can be found below.

IN WOLFSKILL THEATRE'S PRODUCTION OF

BERTOLT BRECHT'S DRUMS IN THE NIGHT

WHAT IS  TOP GIRLS ?

Carol Churchill's 1982 play TOP GIRLS follows Marlene, a career-driven woman who is heavily invested in women's success in business. The play examines the roles available to women in the modern society and throughout history, and what it means or takes for a woman to succeed. It also dwells heavily on the cost of ambition and the influence of politics of Thatcherism on feminism.

TOP GIRLS was Zoo District's second production and its first in its home at Art Share. The company of ZD transformed half of the upper floor of the old warehouse that had become Art Share into a seventy-five seat theater space, and used its view of Los Angeles' skyline as the backdrop for the production.

PAT TOWNE directed the piece for Zoo District produced by Bernadette Sullivan.

THE PICTURES

 
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THE REVIEWS

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WHAT IS  METALUNA ?

What would happen if the Dada movement of post World War I Europe met American Vaudeville? And what if the meeting took place in a small town in Indiana where a brilliant if insane doctor needs a group of "sane crazy people" to conduct his new mind experiments? What might happen then?

With its combination of Dadaist expressionism and outright vaudevillian lunacy, Joe Janes' METALUNA AND THE AMAZING SCIENCE OF THE MIND REVIEW is a complex comedy of errors, while simultaneously filling the stage with classic absurd silliness and stupidity.

PAT TOWNE played the role of Dr. Twist, Metaluna Indiana's doctor with a mind for the Mind. The production was produced for Zoo District by Loren Rubin and directed by Kate Hendrickson.

PAT TOWNE AS DOCTOR TWIST

PAT TOWNE AS TWIST WITH ADAM BITTERMAN AS THE MAYOR

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directed by Pat Towne

WHAT IS  THE HOSTAGE ?

THE HOSTAGE is a 1958 play by Irish playwright Brendan Behan that is full of music and dance and jokes and ale, and is a viciously dark, satirical attack on both sides of the English-Irish conflict known as "The Troubles".

On the eve of a planned execution of a 18-year-old member of the IRA, a young, cherubic, British soldier gets lost and stumbles into a run down hotel turned brothel.  He then finds himself 'captured' by the unusual clientele. Drinking and arguing ensue, and the gang of the hotel wonder what exactly what they should do with their hostage.

PAT TOWNE directed THE HOSTAGE for Zoo District and the show was produced by Brett Paesel.

 

THE PICTURES

THE REVIEW

Miss Gilchrist, Leslie (The Hostage), & Mr. Mulleady
Miss Gilchrist, Leslie (The Hostage), & Mr. Mulleady

The Hostage directed by Pat Towne

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Mr. Mulleady gets the treatment.
Mr. Mulleady gets the treatment.

The Hostage directed by Pat Towne

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Meg, Teresa, and Pat the Proprietor
Meg, Teresa, and Pat the Proprietor

The Hostage directed by Pat Towne

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Miss Gilchrist, Leslie (The Hostage), & Mr. Mulleady
Miss Gilchrist, Leslie (The Hostage), & Mr. Mulleady

The Hostage directed by Pat Towne

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WHAT IS  PATHÉ X ?

Eugene, an insomniac playwright, is in search of his lost dream about the perfect play.  With the help of two surrealist artists (Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington) and their creations, Eugene travels deep into his subconscious. This quest leads him to a very different place, in a very different time, to another man who dreams as well.

 

The man is the surrealist master Salvador Dali, who holds the fate of Eugene's dream in one hand and his eternal mustache in the other… As Eugene’s and Dali’s dreams become intertwined, Eugene realizes that it is Dali who holds the key to finding his perfect play.

Inspiration for Ricardo Zeger's PATHE X arose from his long time enchantment with the works of the surrealist masters Dali, Varo, and Carrington.  His play offers a hopeful promise for happiness to those brave and strange souls who summon the courage to follow their dreams and pursue their art. 

PAT TOWNE played Salvador Dali in this production directed by Antony Sandoval and produced for Zoo District by Michael Franco and Lorenzo Gonzales.

THE REVIEWS

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THE LAWEEKLY REVIEW

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES REVIEW

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PAT TOWNE AS SALVADOR DALI

WITH JON KELLAM AS THE PLAYWRIGHT AND TERESA CORCHETE AS GALA

WHAT IS  THE SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH OF SAM SHEPARD ?

Sam Shepard is drawn back home for the holidays.  He doesn’t really know why.  It frightens him.  So he brings a couple of friends along for help.  Easter... came the rock star Patti Smith.  Christmas... the novelist Tom Wolfe.  But at home, Sam’s sister, Elly May, has a television in her head, and Sam’s father, Pappy, has something special buried up on the mountain.

Fame can change a man.  And Sam’s reason for coming home is about to be revealed in the shape of a billion year old monster.

Jeffrey Dorchen's THE SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH OF SAM SHEPARD imaginatively reinvents playwright/actor Sam Shepard’s dizzying ascent from man to myth. Threading themes from H. P. Lovecraft, Tennessee Williams, Al Capp, Patti Smith, Tom Wolfe and Sam Shepard,  the play careens from moment to cartoon moment exploring the nature of fame, seeking an answer to the question: “Can a billion year old monster turn Sam Shepard into a God?”    

PAT TOWNE played Tom Wolfe in this production directed by Bill Cusack, and it was produced for Zoo District by Michael Franco and Ben Simonetti.

PAT TOWNE AS TOM WOLFE

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WHAT IS  HEART OF A DOG ?

In 2000 ZOO DISTRICT produced Michael Franco's adaptation of Mikhail Bulgokov's The Master and Margarita. The show was one of the most successful in ZD's history winning several awards including the LAWeekly Award for Production of the Year.

Word of its success made it all the way to Kiev, Ukraine - Bulgokov's birthplace, and home to the creators of The First Annual Bulgokov Festival. Representatives for the Festival contacted Zoo District about bringing a production to Kiev to be the centerpiece of the newly created festival honoring their national hero.

Zoo District gratefully obliged, and in September of 2002 ZD premiered its adaptation of Mikhial Bulgokv's novella HEART OF A DOG at the Ivan Franko Theatre. Zoo District was the first American company to perform at the Franko - Ukraine's national theatre.

PAT TOWNE played the lead, Professor Filipp Filippovich Preobrazhensky, a brilliant surgeon who decides he wants to turn a dog into a man.