Standing By

REVIEW by Willard Manus

Turkish-born director Aclan Bates Buyukturkoglu has scaled down his work. After being nominated for a 2004 Ovation award for his epic production of Kafka's The Trial, he has turned to a two-character play, STANDING BY, by Norman Barasch. Starring two young but skilful (and clear-spoken) actors, Megan Hallin and Nic Garcia, the play was done off-Broadway twenty years ago but has been given a shot in the arm by Bates' crisp, energetic direction. Also, the recent Terry Schiavo controversy has inadvertently made the play more topical. A love story, STANDING BY's main conflict is rooted in Hallin's decision to chose quality of life over continued, debilitating treatment for recurring leukemia. Garcia, an overbearing kind of guy--but one who truly does love her--argues that she should submit to a bone-marrow operation and take a chance on it working. She would rather make the most of her remaining days, even if they should result in death. By turns funny, bawdy and deeply touching, STANDING BY works well as a play, Schiavo story or no. Through May 14 at Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., W. Hollywood. Call (323) 852-1445 or visit