Desperate Writers

Review by Willard Manus

SANTA MONICA -- Breathes there a Hollywood writer who, after having been systematically ignored, ripped off or let down by a producer, hasn't dreamed of wreaking terrible revenge on him?

Joshua Grenrock and Catherine Schreiber tap into that justifiable desire in their new comedy, DESPERATE WRITERS, now in its world premiere at Edgemar Center For the Arts.

Ashley (Kate Hollinshead) and David (Chris Petschler) are youngish lovers who have been cranking out screenplays together for ten years without much to show for it. To be sure, they've had a few things optioned, only to have the production collapse right before shooting started, or for their champion at the studio to be replaced by an exec who refuses to read their work. Somehow they managed to keep going all these years, enduring one disappointment and/or rejection after another. It's what one of them calls "following the carrot."

Now, though, their nerves are about to snap. Not only has Ashley lost her day-job at a catering company, David's having a tough time paying the bills on what he makes as a freelance pet photographer. On top of that, Ashley's desperate to get married. If only they could sell the romantic comedy they've just finished; it's the best thing they've ever written, insists their brassy, ever-optimistic agent, Vanessa (Judy Nazemetz). Just one more top-brass okay and it's a done deal, for big bucks.

Problem is, after having read only ten pages, the mogul turns down the script ("it's a gut thing," he explains). How to get him and his equally philistine cronies (played by Greenrock, Schreiber and Peter Van Norden) to change their mind? It's simple: lock them in a cage, point a gun at them, and force them to listen to what you've written.

DESPERATE WRITERS is a loud, hysterical, one-dimensional farce that irritated this reviewer from beginning to end, yet there's no denying that much of the audience howled with glee throughout. Perhaps everyone there on opening night was an embittered Hollywood screenwriter. 2437 Main St. Call 310-392-7327 or visit