Review: THE ANTS at the Geffen Playhouse, a horror play reflecting society

    The Ants is a production in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles running from June 29 to July 30, 2023. It is promoted as — “A horror play infused with darkly humorous social commentary. The Ants asks why we spend so much money protecting ourselves instead of investing in our shared humanity.”

Nicky Boulos, Ryan Shrime

 The cast features Nicky Boulos (New Amsterdam, 9-1-1: Lone Star) as Nami; Megan Hill (The Brightest Thing in the World, Eddie and Dave) as Meredith; Jeremy Radin (The Way Back, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as The Pizza Guy; Ryan Shrime (Pam and Tommy, On My Block) as Shahid; and Hugo Armstrong (Power of Sail, Fear the Walking Dead) as The Brain.

  Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh the social commentary is a far cry from humorous, it is painfully relevant, dealing with the homeless crisis and the ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots. Written by Ramiz Monsef some compelling points are made, especially during the first act dialog between two brothers. Shahid (Ryan Shrime standing out with his sincere portrayal) is a man who has done well being ambitious and working to achieve his goals and enjoying the finer things in life. Nami (Nicky Boulos displaying a frantic hunger about the subject) is sort of a screwup who seems to lack ambition and often relies on handouts from his brother.

 Joining the brothers, Shahid’s wife Meredith (Megan Hill going over the top with her panic mode) comes home to find the ultra high-tech hilltop house she designed is not the safe-house she imagined during an eerie uprising— just ask the Pizza Guy (Jeremy Radin offering a tour de force).

Nicky Boulos, Megan Hill

 The set is impressive and virtually steals the show at key moments thanks to Hugo Armstrong as the voice of The Brain, and the production team. Scenic designer Carolyn Mraz; costume designer Dominique Fawn Hill; lighting Pablo Santiago; sound John Nobori; and projection designer Hana S. Kim. The Ants was created during the Geffen Playhouse’s The Writers’ Room Program, in which Los Angeles playwrights develop new works with the support and guidance of the Geffen Playhouse artistic team. Major support for this world premiere production provided by the Edgerton Foundation New Play Production Fund.

  For tickets phone at 310-208-2028, or online Visit the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.