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Susan Rubin, Writer


Susan Rubin and Charles Degelman founded Indecent Exposure Theater Company (IETC) in 1988. From its beginnings as an independent political cabaret, this edgy weekly show grew into a regular Friday night feature at the Los Angeles Theater Center (LATC).

IETC went on to produce critically acclaimed, multiple award winning, original plays at LATC from 1990 to 1998, regularly commissioned and co-produced by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

On each of her new works for the stage, Indecent Exposure Theater Company (IETC) Artistic Director Susan Rubin has collaborated coast-to-coast with theater’s best-known theater artists and directors including Anne Bogart, David Schweizer, Rob Prior, Ken Roht, Chay Yew and Mark Bringelson.

After its decade-long residency at Los Angeles Theater Center, IETC branched out to produce work in other venues from New York Theatre Workshop to Baltimore Center Stage. Currently, Indecent Exposure Theater Company is regularly co-produced by and performed at Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles.


Indecent Exposure Theater Company plays:


The World Premiere of LIANA AND BEN ran at Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles on February 18.
A desperate woman. A Faustian deal. A myth, shattered. Liana and Ben, a twisted, sexy retelling of a classic tale.


LIANA AND BEN is a twisted, sexy, modern take on Faust. Our story begins with a not-so-chance encounter between a beautiful young woman and a dark, enigmatic stranger. Ben makes Liana an offer: he will keep her young and beautiful for 250 years if she can prove to him that humanity is worth saving. Now, Liana’s time is almost up and Ben demands his proof. They travel forward and backward through history in search of hope – questioning their very existence, the nature of their own mythology and the foundations of good & evil.

LA TIMES REVIEW: Prove humans are worth salvation? In 'Liana and Ben,' that's not so easy

By Philip Brandes - FEB. 24, 2017

Imagine coming of age in a time of political activism and fervent idealism, only to see your dreams of building a better world betrayed again and again by the basest human impulses. Now picture that disappointment spread over the last 200 years and you have the quandary facing the heroine of “Liana and Ben,” a mythology-steeped premiere from Circle X Theatre Co. Susan Rubin’s tale infuses the Faust legend with a feminist gender reversal. Liana (Kimberly Alexander) is a former acolyte from the French Revolution who made a longevity pact with a hunky Mephistophelean figure calling himself Ben Stone (Jonathan Medina): In exchange for two centuries of youth and beauty, she must prove to him there are redeeming qualities that can make people worthy of salvation...

In its mythological themes, modernist irony and imaginative visual styling, “Liana and Ben” is something of a companion piece to Circle X’s memorable 2006 production of Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice.” There’s even a descent into the underworld realm of Hades, amusingly played by Darrell Larson as a clueless Olympian chauvinist unable to control his piggish nature. “Eurydice” cast holdover Tim Wright appears as an astrophysicist named Michael, who supplies Liana with the secrets of the universe and casual sex (not necessarily in that order) read more...

LIANA AND BEN | By Susan Rubin | Co-presented by Indecent Exposure Theatre Company and Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles | 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays; ends March 26. | Tickets: $25 | circlextheatre.org



The World Premiere of EVE 2 ran at Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles August 10 through September 8, 2013..
Everything the Old Testament doesn’t want you to see!


This sensual, surreal dream of a play takes on the story of Eve and Adam. Only this time, they both work at a hospital morgue that has lost power in a massive electrical outage. Strangely, the loss of power coincides with Time and Space colliding, and in this brief moment, All Things Are Possible. Eve and Adam realize who they really are, and Eve (though terrifying punishment surrounds her at every step), becomes determined to change the end of her story as told in the Bible. Genesis was never like this! What if Eve had been allowed to eat from the Tree of Knowledge? Wouldn’t we all really be better off?


Susan Rubin's New Play eve2 Is Like Eden Meets The X-Files (link to review at LA Weekly online...includes photos)
By Steven Leigh Morris - Thursday, Aug 15 2013

The problem with Romeo and Juliet is that we never get to see how it really went down, the fallout from all that sexy forbidden union of opposing clans. Had they lived even five years beyond their wedding day, would Juliet be laughing mockingly or just cringing at Romeo's hammy romantic come-ons that so bewitched her at the outset, when they were just teenagers? Or would Romeo now be trying out his well-practiced art on somebody younger and leaner than Juliet, now with, say, two kids in tow?

Would they be having arguments over which in-laws to invite for dinner? R&J has the warring Montague and Capulet clans unite in honor of their childrens' deaths, but what if the young'uns had lived?

What if Romeo made it to 60, and he was still a struggling poet but now with a weak bladder, rotting gums, a pot belly and hemorrhoids. How romantically would she think of him then, and his verse?

Playwright Susan Rubin uses Romeo and Juliet as the starting point for her absorbing, enigmatic play, eve2, which really centers on an earlier, no less tragic couple from the Book of Genesis.

In her remake of a legend so familiar it need not be mentioned by name, Adam (Hunter Seagroves) works in a contemporary hospital but aspires to be an actor. For this reason he's rehearsing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet with his co-worker, Eve (Rebecca Rivera).

In the middle of their rehearsal in one of the hospital's quiet corridors, the power goes out and we hear over the sound system an evacuation order for all staff to leave the building.

Eve being Eve, and Adam being kind of bossy yet the kind of guy who ultimately goes along with her — that debacle over the apple was her doing, after all — they choose to ignore the official order and subsequently find themselves in a netherworld where "time and space collide."

This means that they're everywhere, and nowhere. Anything can happen. And quite a bit does.

For instance, in the smoky confines of the lightless ward, one slender youth, Mo (Nicholas Cutro), emerges nattily dressed from a body bag and eventually winds up looking even more snazzy in a leather jacket.

This reconfigured Moses sounds eager to make a getaway with Eve. This annoys Adam, who, flashlight in hand, urges Mo back to the psych ward from which he's alleged to have escaped.

Mo may be crazy but he's no fool. It was he who recited commandments that have been humanity's curse, Eve points out.

Mo argues that good can't exist without evil, love without hatred, kindness without cruelty. A propensity for people to behave badly is the reason for the rules he ordained to keep order. This is well said, though dubious coming from somebody who, before this play is concluded, will emerge with blood on his hands.

Eve's counter-argument sums up the play's most salient dispute: that there need be no impediment for people to base their actions on the principles of goodness and divine love. She holds Christ's view, and Gandhi's. And for this view, she took the fall, Rubin implies.

Emerging from a different body bag is an attractive woman named Tina, also a former psych-ward patient. She's fond of hallucinogenic meds, perhaps because she possesses a psychotic dread of human atrocities that she feels all around her.

And so the play lashes around trying to fathom why the world has always been so awful. It arrives at enigmas and paradoxes, which is among its strengths. Can you imagine a play actually trying to answer the mysteries of existence with a remedy?

The play is like an episode of The X-Files but without dramaturgical rules. There's some kind of killing game going on outside, or inside, that the characters seek to escape. There are voices suggesting that Eve, in particular, is being watched, that she's being ensnared in a dragnet. But is the hell beyond the hospital walls worse than the hell in which they're trapped? Are they even trapped?

Adam talks a good game about making a dash for it, and it would seem he could if he wanted to, but that would mean rescinding his devotion to Eve, since she's more interested in snooping around in file cabinets and grabbing patients' records by the fistful. But to what purpose? Adam sums it up best: "We committed a couple of major criminal acts, but we still don't know anything."

This is all quite enjoyable, but the story's cat-and-mouse excitement derives more from curiosity as to what's going on than from the visceral thrill of suspense — despite actors bolting across the stage with glints of terror on their faces. It's as though Rubin and director Mark Bringleson are trying to stitch together a mystery-thriller from Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit with the romanticism of Romeo and Juliet.

As an example of the production's romantic thread, Adam might have bolted for the nearest exit had he not just been rehearsing Romeo and somehow retained in his otherwise impenetrable noggen that sonnet penned by the same Bard, "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds."

Such sentiments are the glue that keeps couples together, through doom and worse. Such sentiments are what keep Rubin's latter-day Adam in the hospital and in her play, which is ultimately idealistic despite its macabre trappings.

The play knows that the world is a terrible place, and doesn't quite know what to do about it. It aches for the love between Romeo and Juliet to endure, to actually mean something in our world. Its intelligence is striking, its symbolism provocative, and its dramaturgy murky.

Director Mark Bringelson delivers an atmospheric and compelling production on a stage with a smoky subterranean cave — the morgue — and stairwells from the stage's main purgatorial level leading to Heaven above.

Rivera's Eve has a child-woman power, against which Seagrove's Adam comes off as a bit of a blowhard. Some of this may well be in the lines — his instant jealousy of Mo, for example. In one scene, Mo transports Eve to the Egyptian paradise where Anthony met Cleopatra.

This is a play that strives to hold the whole world in its hands. Therein lies its virtue, and its beauty.

EVE2 | By Susan Rubin | Co-presented by Indecent Exposure Theatre Company and Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles | Thurs.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Sept. 8 | (213) 389-3856 | bootlegtheater.org


A Trilogy:


Bitch 01 Bitch 02

- Los Angeles Times

The production is enormously seductive…
- Backstage West

"BITCH, Susan Rubin’s dark comedy abandons logic, probability and common sense to provide a zany roller-coaster ride combining voodoo, kinky sex, weapons of mass destruction, sibling rivalry and Washington intrigues."
- LA Weekly: GO, Neil Weaver


Above 03 ABOVE THE LINE cast

"Best Production/Comedy"
"Ever wonder what happens in the high-rise Hollywood offices and private Beverly Hills bedrooms where movie deals are made? Well, wonder no more because playwright Susan Rubin takes you there in her hilariously biting new satire Above The Line, now getting a spiffy world premiere production at the Bootleg Theatre."
"Mark Bringelson directs Above The Line with the same flair he showed in his crackerjack work on Rubin’s previous comedy BITCH."
- StageSceneLA.com, Steven Stanley

“A rollicking good time.”
- Thomas Hampton Reviews

The Strange Story of Selena

An African American scholarship student spends her senior year with an affluent family in a fashionable Washington, D.C. neighborhood… Until she disappears! Smothered by the family’s clinging desperation, Selena runs off with her lover to New Orleans. Will she survive the journey, or die in a fiery crash?

The three plays in this trilogy paint a penetrating and disturbing picture of our current culture: From corporate greed to family dysfunction – from well-meaning racism to questions of social identity.



Immortality women Immortality stairs Immortality duet

"Rubin’s story, which is loosely adapted from Simone de Beauvoir’s novel All Men Are Mortal, begins and ends during rehearsals for a Broadway musical called Blood Rites. This fictional production is no Cats, however, but a special-effects extravaganza that examines humanity’s appetite for destruction -- a violent yet politically airbrushed history lesson about great moments of conquest, slavery and slaughter.".
- LA Weekly, Steven Mikulan

"A highly original play of ideas... an intriguing parable about the state of theater, human nature and our perception of history... a truly original work that deserves attention."
- LA Weekly, Steven Leigh Morris

Michael Kostroff was nominated for an Ovation Award for his role as MICHAEL


club termina

Termina flyer Termina bar Termina plea

Arresting and moving...a bizarre olio of comedy, camp and wrenching emotionalism.”
- Los Angeles Times, F. Kathleen Foley

Critic's Pick!
- Backstage West

"Funny and moving!"
- LA Weekly

"Utterly charming and enchanting..."
- Drama-Logue

"Diagnosis: laughter...risque musical vignettes and a double shot of black comedy!"
- The Daily News, Reed Johnson


The Trial of Persephone

Persephone postcard

The Greek gods now live in Manhattan, and Hades is Lord of Wall Street. A play fore-shadowing the OWS movement, by cleverly placing Zeus, Hera, Demeter, Hermes, Hades and Persephone in current day New York City. And then letting all Hell break loose.

The Trial of Persephone was work-shopped at New York Theatre Workshop, directed by David Schweizer, music by David O. It was directed by Anne Bogart in a workshop at The Road Theater, and Los Angeles Theatre Center, music by Steven Argila.


Life & Death: The Vaudeville Show

Life & Death IETC band

Life and Death go up against each other in this dark but humorous musical show that toured Cuba with the IETC bank after a successful run at LATC.


Mysteries in a Silver Box

Mysteries in a Silver Box postcard

A family unravels it’s long held secrets when “Mother” disappears on her 75th birthday, and we find out that she has gone to spend time with “Father” – who died ten years ago.

Mysteries in A Silver Box was named one of the TEN BEST THINGS TO SEE IN LA
LA Magazine, Gia Gittelson