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SkyPilot Theatre Company is a non-profit ensemble of resident playwrights, actors, directors and designers producing provocative, compelling and challenging new works for the Los Angeles theatre-going audience.

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LA WEEKLY REVIEW: THE EMANCIPATION OF ALABASTER MCGILL

GO THE EMANCIPATION OF ALABASTER MCGILL

After a startling revelation is made in Act II of Jeff Goode’s funny new comedy, two dumbstruck boys freeze as one says to the other, “Don’t say anything; maybe it’ll just disappear.”

The setting might be Kentucky, 1863, but that good ol’ Southern methodology prevailed even in free lovin’ California, 2008, when Goode’s editorial on Proposition 8 was rejected by a major publication because it wasn’t election coverage. That dismissal became the springboard for this world premiere, which uses a 19th century discussion over the imminent Emancipation Proclamation to draw parallels between slavery and homosexuality. Goode’s got a knack for clever innuendo: Self-pleasure is as thinly veiled as “whittling,” and Jude Evans’ Klansman/Deputy has a tiny pocketknife.

Director Eric Curtis Johnson has found a cast with impeccable comic timing: In the Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer tradition, Brett Fleisher and Matt Valle puzzle over problematic situations before announcing the most logical solutions. With a static setting and a few too-frequent occasions of the pedantic dialogue, as Deacon Chickory (a scene-stealing Nathaniel Stanton) drums into your head, that “slippery slope” into preachiness. “We ain’t got time to debate this or think about what we’re doin’!” Frank Ensenberger’s Grocer Bag Baggot sputters on the eve before the Proclamation takes effect.

You might be for or against Prop 8, but kudos to Goode for taking that time.

SkyPilot Theater at T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru June 19. (800) 838-3006.skypilottheatre.com (Rebecca Haithcoat)

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