Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Playgoer: The Civilians Play L.A.:

I write this by way of introducing the grand opening of UCLA Live's Seventh Annual International Theater Festival, and U.S. premier of adapter-director Barry Kosky's staging of Edward Allen Poe's “The Tell-Tale Heart” -- a one-man performance featuring Austrian actor Martin Niedermair. The show and festival are supposed to open tomorrow (Wednesday), but they won't, because Niedermair isn't coming.

He would like to come, but the Department of Homeland Security has denied his visa.

His visa is being denied because Actors Equity has determined that the role, being recited in English, could, conceivably be played by an American, and Homeland Security routinely checks in with the appropriate labor union in order to make its determination of whether to grant a work-related visa.

Explained Equity spokesperson Maria Somma, the organization subcontracted by UCLA Live to petition for artists' visas, Traffic Control Group, Ltd., submitted paperwork that said the performance was culturally unique. “We rejected that because we didn't find anything that was culturally unique about it.”

3:44 AM