The Play, 4 FACES premiered at Chapman University in Orange, CA, then played in Los Angeles for three months at the Ventura Court Theater and the Odyssey Theater. The New York production at the Actors Studio followed. It was directed by Helen Richman.
PETER MARK RICHMAN brings an honesty to the characters in his one man show. He proves his artistry as a performer - and reveals what's on his mind. Writer Richman has carefully linked all four pieces...tying them together is the human quest to understand God. Pastor Harlan Gregory lectures and cajoles his flock to adopt a more humble stance toward God...but "Certain women" he suddenly announces, have been spreading false rumors about him. Carlo, the handwringing father wondering where it all went wrong with his son who O.D.'d...Richman's convincing Italian-American behavior. In the third face, Gerhardt, a former Nazi SS Officer, Richman creates a work of fine dramatic craft. Both in performance and dialogue, Richman suggests a man who has talked himself into thinking that he was swept up in the tide of Nazi fervor - even though he was at the center of plans that deported millions of Jews to death camps. A hint of diabolical pleasure, though, comes through, both in his past crimes and in his continued escape from the law. This is powerful enough. But then, Richman presents an elderly Jewish man, Daniel, waiting for a bus, telling a young man how he survived the death camps by performing for Nazi officers. Richman uses gentle comedy and even implies that Daniel and Gerhardt met in the wings of the Salzburg opera...it feels as honest as it looks terrific...
ROBERT KOEHLER, LOS ANGELES TIMES
PETER MARK RICHMAN has created four memorable characters. He conveys a master's touch in the detail and depth he brings to them...a pleasure to watch Richman casually bring surprising detailed characters out of a few simple props and changes of clothes...
PAUL HODGINS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
You may know his name. You must know his face. Either way, you know him as a terrific actor and you will find it a treat to see him at work. And if by some chance you don't know Peter Mark Richman, here is an excellent introduction because this striking, refined character actor has never been better.
4 FACES is an original work. Actually it is four original works, blended by Richman into an evocative, evening with the able partnership of director (and wife) Helen Richman and further stirred by original music from composer (and son) Lucas Richman.
What Richman and Co. offer is an impressively varied quartet of vivid monologues.
First is sermon by "Pastor Harlan Gregory," severe and determined as ever, even in the face of personal scandal. Then Richman shifts deftly from high-toned clerical collar to down-and -dirty blue collar as his "Carlo" speaks from the gut about his drug addicted son.
After intermission we meet the chilling and memorable "Gerhardt," a proud gentleman recounting for his grandson the days of his youth - as a Nazi Gestapo officer. Then Richman closes with his affectionate and admiring portrait of "Daniel," as ancient Jewish immigrant who has endured far too much but who nonetheless keeps on walking and even singing, through his life.
All four scenes are written with sensitivity and intelligence. In each case, Richman finds the defining subtleties, behavior and inner life of the character and conveys it with refreshingly invisible technique.
Except that this splendid actor accomplishes this clarity and richness with back to back to back to back portrayals, there are no tricks to 4 FACES. This is not "performance art." These are straightforward, old-fashioned monologues, artfully restrained from being anything more than plainly honest. Just the actor, the characters, their words, and us. It is simple, and simply remarkable.
RICHARD SCAFFIDI, DRAMA-LOGUE
"The most obvious thing about 4 FACES is that its creator is a man of great talent...told with exceptional craft by a consummate actor...played with enormous skill and fascinating attention to nuance."
TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER, ENTERTAINMENT TODAY
"Stirring...four men whose lives have been changed by an uncompromising fate...significant changes occur deep in Richman's actors' soul...characterizations as vividly experienced as real life."
MADELEINE SHANER, BEVERLY PRESS
A MEDAL FOR MURRAY
A Comedy in Two Acts
by Peter Mark Richman
Mrs. Feldman is reluctantly living her last, lonely days at the Evergreen Pines Manor, a retirement home for the elderly. She is not feeling well, which is par for the course. She never feels well, to say the least - with many layers of exaggerated multiple ailments preventing even the possibility of a good day from happening.
Her son, Murray, flies in to visit her from Miami, where he is a weather man on local T.V. Although grateful for his visit, all the old family tensions and problems quickly submerge their time together. She wants to know why she can't go back to the old house...And "Why he can't be a weather man on T.V. in Camden, like he used to be, instead of in Miami!"
The same old ground, and no solutions.
Murray sadly returns to Miami where he then has to confront his girlfriend, Pearl, who wants a commitment for the future which she is not getting and she wants it now.
Mrs. Feldman, the day after her son's visit, while sitting in the patio, meets a sweet and jovial 83-year-old resident named Manny. After a rough, but hilarious beginning, they gradually find something in common to share and their relationship grows over the next few weeks...her ailments and sadness, decreasing measurably.
By the final curtain, after a zany surprise twist, Murray can no longer complain and use as an excuse that his mother and her confinement are the major problems in his life, which are preventing him from marrying Pearl.
*PLEASE NOTE: A MEDAL FOR MURRAY IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT.
HEAVY, HEAVY, WHAT HANGS OVER
by Peter Mark Richman
An Evening in the Theatre
(3 One-Act Plays about Marriage)
1. The Party List (Drama)
Frank, an Army veteran is preparing a party list of friends for a welcome-home gathering to greet his wife's brother, who is returning from Vietnam. Veda, the wife, receives an unexpected phone call from her brother that presents a surprising problem that will alter their party plans and their future relationship.
2. The Place (Drama)
Roger has had a heart attack and is in the hospital. His wife, Charlotte, comes to visit. Roger silently endures all of his wife's verbal meanderings, silliness and complaints until he can no longer take it. He suddenly lets loose with his own painful feelings concerning their tortured, childless marriage.
I N T E R M I S S I O N
3. Heavy, Heavy, What Hangs Over (Comedy)
(3 characters and a voice)
George Morone, an egoistic, self-centered movie star, in his elaborate palatial bathroom, is doing his daily routine of personally trimming his hair, shadow-boxing and pedaling his excercyle, etc. -- all the while keeping up a conversation with his sharply responsive, beautiful wife, Agnes. Guadalupe, the maid, keeps constantly and annoyingly beeping in on the intercom.
In the second scene, George receives an unexpected visit from a most peculiar and fascinating "doctor" that George has no memory of making an appointment with, especially in the privacy of his inner-sanctum bathroom. This strange new visitor and interloper brings with him a "treatment" that assuages all of George's fears and insecurities...and before he exits, he has had a decidedly ethereal influence on Agnes.
And Guadalupe will never be the same.
*PLEASE NOTE: HEAVY HEAVY WHAT HANGS OVER IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT.
THE SALAMI KING'S DAUGHTER
by Peter Mark Richman
A Comedy in two Acts
Harry Demko is a very talented technical-design artist working for a large corporation. He longs for the life of a serious painter that he has studied to be and wants a one-man show desperately to exhibit his wares. Married to a lovely, pregnant wife, Estelle, they are a warm and very loving couple facing all the usual problems in a young marriage...all with a twist and funny-bone quirk.
Estelle's father, Ben, a gruff but good-hearted fellow, manufacturers salami and visits them in their San Fernando Valley home. He insinuates always and again that Harry would be better off working with him in New York at the Salami factory, and making much more money, which they need...especially with a baby coming. It is Ben's old song and it causes continual conflict.
Jack, their cleaning and laundry pick-up man, who has been given a dusty, old oil painting by a wealthy client who owed him money, asks Harry to come and evaluate the painting. Harry puts him off for some later time.
In the second act, Jack brings an official appraiser who has seen the painting to Harry's house, and asks Harry to be his manager for 20% of a possible sale. Prodded by his father-in-law, Harry reluctantly agrees, The hilarious proceedings and the conclusion, guarantee Harry a one-man exhibition, respectable representation for his artwork, and unexpectedly, a rosy future for his family and new baby.
*PLEASE NOTE: THE SALAMI KING'S DAUGHTER IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT.
For information about Plays contact:
Peter Mark Richman Prods.
19528 Ventura Blvd., Suite 385
Tarzana, CA 91356