(Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)
In “As I Like It,” making its U.S. debut at the Macha Theatre, self-described “visionary poet, photographer, Genlux Magazine fashion editor and trendsetter” Amanda Eliasch turns her relatively interesting life into a notably ordinary performance piece.
Lebanon-born, England-raised Eliasch wrote the play — curiously billed as “adapted for stage by Lyall Watson” — produced it and designed the costumes. In a free-form monologue that hankers after Cocteau-like intimacy, the Woman (Elizabeth Karr) emerges from the skull sculpture on designer Trip Haenisch’s elegantly fragmented set and shares life lessons with us. The daughter of an opera singer and granddaughter of a film director, veteran of seven years of drama school training and many inchoate relationships, including her father, this Eliasch surrogate clearly aims for a meaningful confessional.
Except the tacitly familiar tale lacks the traction it might have if Eliasch performed it herself. Karr, a competent actress whose quality merges Charlotte Rampling and Lauren Hutton, loses her accent and falls into singsong, though she withstands the outré black tutu-with-rose Eliasch puts on her and Lisa Zane, as the Singer who punctuates the text with octave-dropped arias.
– David C. Nichols
“As I Like It,” Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays (Jan. 15 performance at 3 p.m.). Ends Jan. 15. $20. (323) 969-1774 and theatereinla.com. Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Photo: Actresses Lisa Zane and Elizabeth Karr in “As I Like It.” Credit: Jesse Grant
(Society News LA, http://societynewsla.com)
While after-parties aren’t unusual for a play’s Opening Night, it’s not often that a playwright invites the entire audience to her home after the cast takes its bows. But then, “As I Like It” had its U.S. premiere on New Year’s Eve.
Far more telling, the playwright is Amanda Eliasch, who also co-produced the autobiographical play, designed the costumes and provided her artwork for the set.
“I don’t mind having strangers at my house,” said Eliasch. “What will they do? Steal the silver? I did the same thing when the play opened in London. I prefer making people feel like family.”
And so, the party after the play’s Opening Night at the Macha Theater in West Hollywood mixed friends, family and audience members at Eliasch’s Beverly Hills home and culminated in a champagne toast to the new year. Among guests were television and film director Peter Medak, Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s, art collector Kay Saatchi, Cindy Cowan, producer of the new film, “Red Lights;” Joel Lambert of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen;” Stephen Kamifuji, creative editor of Genlux Magazine; photographer Jack English, Kathleen Rosenbloom, Linda and Filippo Puglisi-Alibrandi and Kathleen Sacchi.
From the cast came actors Elizabeth Karr, Charles Eliasch and Lisa Zane and director John Alan Simon, who also directed the 2012 film, “Radio Free Albemuth.”
An artist, poet, photographer and fashion editor, Eliasch lives in Great Britain, France and Los Angeles. Her photographs have been shown at the Black and White Gallery, Cork Street Gallery and Proud Gallery in London and her neon artworks have been exhibited at the Leadapron Gallery in Los Angeles. Her book of photographs, “British Artists at Work” was published by Assouline, and more of her photographs were incorporated into “Made by Indians” and “Made by Brazilians” published by the Enrico Navarra Gallery.
“My first love is writing, and I particularly like theater,” Eliasch said. “It feels alive to me. I like the drama behind the scenes, wondering if the actress will forget her lines. I like being on the edge of my seat. You don’t get that in cinema, which is all very accurate. Theater has to be done on real emotion, night after night.”
With a wave of fires taking place in Los Angeles, this play’s Opening Night had more than its share of surprises. Lead actress Karr had to cope with screaming sirens and helicopters so loud, they seemed to be inches overhead.
And Karr did so, in fact, easily and artfully by acknowledging the sounds, and then going on with her breezy nearly unbroken one-hour-plus monologue. In her role as “the woman,” Karr tells the story of Eliasch’s life, incorporating the author’s British upbringing, run-ins with schoolmates, parental relationships, two marriages and an affair with a married man.
Lisa Zane’s opera performances punctuate the monologue, while Charles Eliasch, the author’s son, accompanies Zane on the piano and joins her for an especially beautiful duet and a stylish tango.
The Amanda Eliasch play AS I LIKE IT first debuted at the Chelsea Theater in London. It will run in Los Angeles through Jan. 15 at the Macha Theater. Click here or call 323-969-1774 for ticket information.
(A Bloomsbury Life, http://abloomsburylife.blogspot.com)
The most fascinating ones are brilliant, maddening birds of paradise.
I’m thinking of three in particular.
1. Amanda Eliasch
“The Muscovites say that the moment a woman learns to be ugly she becomes interesting.”
“Think positive, paint the town red, have a ball, have a laugh…but don’t have such a good time that you’re left empty.”
“It’s essential to have style on the back of a horse.”
(from “As I Like It”)
1. Last Friday I went to a performance of “As I Like It”, a one-act play written by Amanda based on her colorful and oh-so-complicated life.
Imagine a McQueen-clad Marilyn crossed with an R-rated Nancy Mitford. That’s the quickest way I know of describing her.
Here’s the more conventional way: Photographer, poet, neon artist, US fashion editor for Genlux Magazine and full-blown eccentric, Amanda never lets anything as insignificant as fear stop her. I’ve known her for over fifteen years and she never stops surprising me or making me howl with laughter.
“As I Like It” is a whirlwind monologue that takes you on a journey of her life so far, from the hardships of a vulnerable childhood and Dickensian boarding school to her stint with the Moscow Theater Company to being a married London socialite and a Parisian mistress. Performed by actress Elizabeth Karr and punctuated with operatic duets from Lisa Zane and Amanda’s son, Charles, it’s a gutsy way of approaching love and loss — with zero apologies and lashings of trenchant wit.
Get ready for something you’d never expect. Who better to give you a glimpse into the world of high society and fashion than The Matthew Aaron. It’s Prada versus Tommy Bahama as Matt sits down with British socialite, Fashion Editor for Italian Vogue, Photo Editor for Genlux Magazine, playwright and author Amanda Eliasch live on The Matthew Aaron Show this Friday.
Amanda will be discusing her work, what it’s like to split her time between LA, London and Paris, and her new play As I Like It which is based off of her life and runs at the Macha Theater in West Hollywood through January 15th.
Show starts Friday(1/6) at 11am PT (1pm CT / 2pm ET.)
Visit my new website The Gun The Cake And The Butterfly and
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Yesterday I received a prize for my film. Winning is a fabulous feeling, it is the first time I have won something. I am not going to feel guilty about it. It made me feel I was back at school when I was eight years old and won a merit badge for picking up tennis
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Amanda J. Eliasch (born May 13, to Anthony Cave Brown and Mrs Caroline Brown née Gilliat, in Beirut, Lebanon) is the poet, Fashion Editor for Genlux Magazine in Los Angeles, as well as British photographer and writer for The Collective Review. She has also written a book of poetry called Cloak and Dagger Butterfly.
She spent her childhood in the Wiltshire Downs with her mother, an opera singer and teacher at Dauntseys School, Devizes and Stonar School, Melksham, Bath, Amanda was educated at Stonar School, Melksham Bath. She is a grand daughter of Sidney Gilliat, film director, script writer and producer of films. Amanda is great grand daughter to George Gilliat. Her father Anthony Cave Brown was writer and Foreign Correspondent for The Daily Mail in Beirut. He won Journalist of the year in 1958 and was author of Bodyguard of Lies, Willliam J. Donavan, and wrote about Kim PhilbyTreason in the blood and Sir Stewart Menzies.
Amanda then worked for a stamp dealer and Terence Conran and The Conran Shop, Kenneth Turner Flowers and Tiger Petroleum until she enrolled herself into drama school.
Amanda Eliasch studied at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Academy of Live and Recorded Arts and then at The Black and White Photography school before embarking on her photographic career. She was the student at the Moscow Arts Theatre.
Amanda worked with Rushka Bergman at L’uomo Vogue photographing people like Ang Lee for the Cinema Edition. Amanda is involved in several charities from the British Film Institute, London Symphony Orchestra and a school of children of the Tsunami in Phuket a charity called Phuket has been good to me Peccadilloes, an exhibition of neon lights based on Kay Saatchi’s drawings of Amanda committing the seven deadly sins at Leadapron Gallery in Melrose in Los Angeles. As I like it a play written by Amanda Eliasch and Lyall Watson with Justine Glenton. Susan Parkes and Charles Eliasch was performed at the Chelsea Theatre Kings Road London.
2011. Sins Of A Butterfly, second book of poetry. In 2009 Chipmunka Publishing published her first book, Cloak And Dagger Butterfly, a book of her poetry with photography, written about two simultaneous love stories.
Amanda Eliasch collaborated with Pablo Ganguli and Liberatum for the AngloMockBa British-Russian cultural diplomacy festival in May 2009 featuring Stephen Frears and milliner Stephen Jones, composer Michael Nyman, Martha Fiennes Film Director, Dylan Jones with TIME as the media partner.
Photographer: Made by Indians which included artists such as Subodh Gupta and Jitish Kallat.
Photographer: Made by Brazilians with British photographer Jack English.
Photographer and Writer of British Artists At Work – Assouline, Franca Sozzani and Italian Vogue. The book commissioned by Franca Sozzani of Italian Vogue, captures four generations of artists from the established to the emerging. Amanda photographed 46 artists in their studios including Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Gavin Turk, Fiona Rae, Sam Taylor-Wood, Julian Opie, Martin Maloney, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Michael Craig Martin, Chantal Joffe, Marc Quinn, Anish Kapoor, Rachael Whiteread, Jenny Saville, Gilbert and George and 2003 Turner Prize nominee Grayson Perry. Amanda’s photographs are set alongside a personal diary of her experiences on each shoot.
Amanda has exhibited in several London based galleries including The Black and White Gallery, The Cork Street Gallery and the Proud Galleries, where her work was well received by the public and critics.
The Evening Standard said “Her stunning, sexy photographs exude glamour and gusto… She’s at her best with her stylish confident images of nude models”-which was influenced by Bob Carlos Clarke
Michel Comte praised her photographic work and likened her to Man Ray and Meret Oppenheim, and Charles Saatchi proclaimed her to be “The new Cartier-Bresson”
Amanda has two sons with Johan Eliasch called Charles and Jack.
As I Like It depicts a gilded life that scales the heights of Great Britain’s art, literary, and social worlds. The play is written by and based on the life of Eliasch, and is the tale of a woman with a ravenous appetite for life and how her unbridled enthusiasm ultimately contributes to a string of failed relationships. As I Like It originated from a request by Eliasch’s estranged father for her to write a manuscript of 5,000 words by the end of a weekend.
Recording of Los Angeles play
Amanda Eliasch enjoys a spontaneous and varied life and she has a strong desire to make life as interesting as possible, living between London, Paris and Los Angeles.
Ten years ago her father, writer and journalist, Anthony Cave Brown, demanded that she wrote 5,000 words about her life, When he received them he said he loved the piece, to keep it, but only publish it when he was dead. He now has been dead three years and her great friend Lyall Watson since offered to put turn it into play form. First of all she was scared about the work, then together they changed it, and now due to the relationship with Justine Glenton the actress, Amanda was asked to take the best from all the scripts.
Amanda Eliasch was educated at Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, R.A.D.A and the Moscow Arts Theatre.
The play was written by me originally about ten years ago because my Father, the journalist and writer Anthony Cave Brown, demanded that I write 5000 words “by the end of the week end”. He felt with my DNA, (My grandfather was the screen writer Sidney Gilliat, my mother was an opera singer, my Aunt a writer) that I should be a good writer, too, and he wanted to see.
I thought, as I had met him for the first time when I was 22, that I would shock him. With inspiration heightened by my love of Tracey Emin, I wrote my own biography. It is a true portrayal of my life as I saw it then. Sometimes, when I read it now, I either feel nothing, or I start crying. It was an experiment, it was better than any shrink. I wanted to do a monologue for an attractive woman of uncertain age because there is so little work for actresses over 45, if you are attractive. My Father loved it, but told me to hide it away until he and my Mother was dead. He died about three years ago.
My life as a child was filled with music; my Mother was an opera singer, my Grandmother a concert pianist. I used to lie under the piano whenever I wanted peace of mind. She practised for about one and half hours a day, and whenever I could I would seek solitude in the open place, called the ‘music room’. Music allows me to meditate, to create and giving me inspiration for everything I do. My Grandfather was a lover of opera, he often said that he would have liked to direct it.
In our quiet moments together he would talk to me about writing. He had made propaganda films during the war for the ministry and liked the gritty feeling of the time. He was a comedian too. It was an artistic household where every ability was encouraged and discussed. For my part I learnt to multi task, my mother used to tease me and say that I was a jack of all trades, and warned be to be careful of being a master of none. I never listened. I carried on. I like learning as much as possible in life. I like stretching myself. If Michael Stipe can do many things I can have a damn good try.
Of course life has changed drastically in the last few years. My Father’s ashes sit in my drawing room. My Mother very sadly died over night, it was a huge shock, and our family life is in the past. Of course being a grumpy and difficult teenager, and a lover of all men, my poor Mother had a terrible time with me. Yet despite everything I used to telephone her every morning without fail at 6am. It was the time you could grab her attention, before she walked the dogs, before she went to teach.
Last year I felt like working on the play again and so nagged Lyall Watson who had taught me at RADA to help me. We changed it into about three plays, the first one was too shocking, the last totally different and It was fun to work with someone that I have known for twenty years. He worked in one bedroom and I, in another. We sent messages to each other by email. We would email each other instead of talking.
I decided to produce the play as I found Justine Glenton who will play the Actress. Justine was teaching me yoga but she is an actress and when she read the script she loved it, I said okay we will do it. Carefully she analysed the script and together with Lyall she helped sharpen the tone, removing unnecessary moments, and encouraging us to make the character of The Woman as sparkly as possible.
My son Charles is in it as he is the only person who can sing, dance and play the piano. He studies with Mannes Conservatoire in New York. He is playing the part of the Boy. Susan Parkes is the Opera Singer, plays the part of both a ghost and my alter ego, singing parts of the pieces that wake my memory up. Your memory tries to catch moments but it is like dust and it floats into the atmosphere.
I decided to show the play at The Chelsea Theatre as I like the space and luckily they agreed. I live nearby and it is convenient. Nicky Haslam the decorator and one of my best friends is doing the set, which is a reflection of how I live in his fantasy. Pandora Delevigne is helping with the costumes of the women. I am a control freak so am unlikely to give full control to anyone.
I am also doing the show at Leadapron of Neon Signs in Melrose, Los Angeles, these are based on my seven deadly sins. The world is full of sin we do not recognise so I decided to show mine in primary colours, reds, yellows greens, blues, exposing myself, and taking my part of the blame too for my peccadilloes.
Recording of London play
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Amanda Eliasch has added another string to her creative bow by crafting a series of artworks in neon for an exhibition at the Leadapron Gallery in Los Angeles. Gallerist, Jonathan Brown presents “Peccadilloes”, showcasing Amanda’s new neon works based on the cartoon drawings of her by close friend and art patron, Kay Saatchi. Amanda has humorously lent herself as an example of the declining trajectory of modern morals.
One approach to art is to take something measurable and make it immeasurable through the prism of one’s imagination. Amanda Eliasch has flipped this notion and taken something immeasurable and made it measurable. She is using neon, a noble gas, as her material. Though common in the universe, it is quite rare on earth. Her subject, sin, is again a flip – common on earth, but supposedly clarified once reaching the heavens.
Being no stranger to the art world, Amanda has shown her visceral, dramatic black and white prints in galleries across London. She has published three books, most notably Assouline’s “British Artists at Work”, a collaboration with Italian Vogue Editor Franca Sozzani. Her latest book entitled “The Sins of a Butterfly” will launch this year. Amanda extends her talents to playwriting, and her first work “As I Like It”, will run for two weeks in July 2011 at the Chelsea Theatre in London.
In his innovative gallery, Brown reveals Amanda’s tongue-in-cheek, but charmingly honest neon artworks, which highlight the many facets of the Mortal Sins: Wrath, Envy, Sloth, Greed, Lust, Pride, and Gluttony. These works are crafted using neon techniques, reflecting Hollywood’s culture of neon – hamburger joints, no vacancy signs, and striptease dens. They are vital, powerful, and compelling in that they tell a story that stretches from darkness to the light.
Amanda is using the pure intention of neon to both expose and reveal what neon aims to express. Much like Tracy Emin or Cindy Sherman, in multiple layers of symbolism, she places herself as the subject of this intention; to humor, to question and to confound. She admits to being a sinner, while at the same time, stating wittily that her sins are just peccadilloes. The result is a reaction to reality that is true, feminine, and astonishingly candid.
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