Ruskin Group Theatre is a thriving non-profit company that started in an empty airplane hangar in 2002 with the dream that they could create a place for great artists, writers, directors and actors to come together and work. They continue to realize goals one play at a time, and have attracted passionate people who want to work with the group, keeping the doors open and seats filled for 12 years. This hidden Westside gem is located within the Santa Monica Airport at 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica 90405.
Michael Myers (Producer/ Managing Director/Santa Monica Arts Commission Chair) co-founded the Ruskin Group Theatre and has produced more than 75 projects for the company. He is the cocreator of the Ruskin Group Theatre’s CAFÉ PLAYS and produced the World Premiere of “Sideways the Play” which ran at the Ruskin for 8 months and is slated for Broadway this year.
Ruskin’s current production is the World Premiere of “The Face in the Reeds” by Robin Uriel Russin, directed by Sarah Figoten Wilson. Performances continue on Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm through November 22. The play centers on a dysfunctional family gathering to celebrate Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating freedom – but nothing is ever easy, especially family. As the meshuge meshugas (crazy madness) plays out, the evening’s Seder meal turns into quarrels about the meaning of freedom, the value of life, and the shadow of death, which symbolically “passes over” the house. This night is different from all other nights and of course, this being a Jewish family, it is also a comedy. We’re all going to die–but first, you should eat.
Playwright Robin Uriel Russin shares, “All families are a little crazy, only the details are different.” I recently reviewed the play and the talented actors are so in touch with each other, you will feel as if you are spying on a real family in a real home. I loved the play which proves everyone needs and deserves a second chance, especially your relatives who will love you no matter what.
On Sunday night, October 12 from 6:30 PM to 10 PM, The Ruskin Group invites you to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of “Library Girl Presents See How We Are.” It’s a Reading/Party and A Celebration presented by creative Punk Hostage Press writers. Tickets are just $10 and must be purchased online at www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.
The Ruskin School of Acting was founded in 1986 by John Ruskin, the group’s Artistic Director, with the goal of passing on the teachings of Sanford Meisner because his work had changed John’s life. “It is, I believe, the single most important work for any actor… or really any human being. It’s become my life’s work to pass it on and I take the tradition and the responsibility of having been one of the few chosen by him to teach very seriously. Meisner asked me to become his apprentice and teach under him at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City where I had first been his student in 1983. Years later he promoted me to start my own school, and then the-atre company, out here in Santa Monica,” says Ruskin.
When they started, it was just Ruskin in a tiny garage with a small group of new actors/students. The garage was so small he had to wait for all the actors to arrive and then close the door to begin, because otherwise the swinging door took up too much room to work. Fastforward almost thirty years to what is now recognized as one of the top training schools for actors, working out of two theaters at the Ruskin Group Theater at the Santa Monica Airport. Michael Myers cocreated a master class at the Ruskin school, and over the years they have had guest artists (teaching master classes) such as Anthony Hopkins, Ed Asner, David Mamet, Dylan McDermott, Ed O’Neill, and Jim Belushi.
In addition to their adult acting classes, The Ruskin School of Acting is proud to offer an ongoing series of classes designed to train children & young adults in the Meisner Technique, as well as Summer Camps in Film & Theatre. Classes are ongoing and meet once a week year round.
When the Greeks created theater, they saw it as a way to heal through the expression of human emotion. The Ruskin Group’s “Healing Through the Arts” program takes this lesson to heart and maintains an ongoing partnership with the Chase Child Life Program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. Groups of actors from The Ruskin Group Theatre and The Ruskin School of Acting work with, mentor, teach, and entertain the children/patients in the hospital. What a wonderful way to share the joy of theater and self expression with the next generation!
The Ruskin Group Theater is truly a hidden Westside gem, and now that you know about them, I hope you will see “The Face in the Reeds” and their future productions including The Paul Overstreet Musical called “This Time” which will open in the spring 2015. The musical’s book is written by Steve Mazur who wrote “Liar, Liar” for Jim Carrey.
The Ruskin Group Theater box office can be reached at (310) 397-3244 and more information about their productions and classes can be found online at www.ruskingrouptheatre. com.