Compelling Night with Storytellers at Word NOW!

Theatre Review by Alisa Hayashida

The storytellers of Word NOW! L-R Sy Rosen, Annie Korzan, Fran de Leon, Jill Remez, Pablo Marz, Sam Feirstein, Orlando Bishop and Christopher Brune-Horan Photo credit: Mike Lawshe

Sunday night at Fremont Centre Theatre, Jill Remez and Mike Lawshe continued to make their dream a reality; the dream of bringing together the best storytellers in LA to tell their stories on stage and to record them for podcast so they continue to live on. Word NOW does just that and the Fremont is a proud partner in this endeavor, bringing these exciting evenings to South Pasadena every other month, always Sundays at 7:30. The theme of this particular outing was war, in all it’s forms, from wars with our neighbors, a critic, an illness and wars within ourselves.

All eight storytellers engaged the audience with their humor and pathos. We heard from the 15 year old “fat girl” inside the head of the very funny Fran deLeon, who told of the “brutal affection”of her Filipino culture and the journey to learn to listen to and respect this very loud and strong voice. Next up was Sy Rosen, telling the hilarious and painful story of the prospect of redeeming himself at his upcoming high school reunion of the most horrible date of his life. Orlando Bishop told what at first seemed like a hysterical homage to the female form but morphed into something much more sinister and powerful. His anger at this unseen enemy was palpable in the theater. Annie Korzen brought the house to tears of laughter telling tales of her travails as a JAA or Jewish American Actress. Her timing is impeccable with each incident bringing on more guffaws than the last.

Pablo Marz tells the poignant story of a boy/man Peter Pan who must grow up quickly when a series of tragedies and loss strike his family. Marz touches the heart with his detail and ability to tap into his joy even in the face of unspeakable loss. Sam Fierstein tells an edge of your seat adventure turned almost international incident in pre 9/11 Cairo. Fierstein’s storytelling takes you right along with him on this gasp inducing ride. Christopher BruneHoran describes the war within his teenage self coming to grips with his sexuality during a possibly misguided trip into New York City with his best friend. You could hear the audience was in the room with him as he described this life changing moment. And finally, Jill Remez tells her own harrowing three year
nightmare of dealing with the “neighbor who shall not be named” and how this Mama Bear with a newborn was able to get up on her haunches and roar!

These fantastically entertaining evenings are recommended for mature audiences so grab a friend or date, have a glass of wine on the inviting patio and gather round this modern campfire called theatre and listen to the stories. Next up is “Independence” Sunday July 17 at 7:30. Fremont Center Theatre 1000 Fremont Ave. South Pasadena. Ample free parking behind and in front of the theater. $15 (866) 8664111 Listen to the podcasts now at

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