“The most important thing about the play and why I love it is the trying. These characters never give up.”
Los Angeles-based Estonian writer-director Liisi Rohumäe, best known for the 2019 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Nominee Chasing Unicorns, makes her writing and directorial debut at the Hollywood Fringe Festival with We’ll Come Back to the Title. It’s Fine.
Rohumäe burst into the theater scene with her play Apart, which had its international premiere in Toronto, Canada, and ran for 13 months in Estonia. Apart was met with outstanding reviews, with one critic noting, “Liisi Rohumäe’s writing has found that fine thread that connects those who left their home country and those who stayed behind.”
She now introduces her most personal work yet, We’ll Come Back to the Title. It’s Fine, a love letter to creatives everywhere and one that reinforces the theme of connection in a foreign city. The story revolves around three actors and a writer-director who are working on an action play called Die Yesterday. The actors play multiple characters throughout the 60-minute runtime, having genuine fun with the play within the play format, as their on-stage characters struggle to land on a story that’s cohesive and also showcases all of their ideas and talents.
Cast member Leila Almas Rose, who plays the hard-working but jaded Ally, was able to relate to the story of creative ambition. “Allie is an actress in her forties who’s tired of playing the same repetitive, overly feminized role. I can relate from the point of view of being an actress who has had to look a certain way and be told to act in a certain, overly sexualized way for many years.”
Rose appears alongside real-life husband Jaime Zevallos, who plays the role of Diego, who’s especially intent on trying out an array of different accents for his character. Zevallos’s chance encounter with Rohumäe sparked a friendship that would ultimately bring him to the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
“[Leila and I] had just moved here from New York when I met [director/writer Liisi Rohumae] at a networking event,” shares Zevallos. “We were just chopping it up about life, and she emailed me about the play about a month later asking if I’d be interested in doing a read-through with some other actor friends. Afterward, we were like, this is amazing!”
Afro-Latina actress Frankie Barrios also attended the read-through and was later cast in the role of Taylor. “My character is wide-eyed and has a passion for theater specifically,” explains Barrios. “Everything is new, fun, and exciting, but there’s tension because there’s something that she wants to showcase, which is her singing and dancing, but she isn’t always given the space.”
We’ll Come Back to the Title. It’s Fine makes its debut this Saturday, 6/3, at The Zephyr Theater on Melrose Avenue and reinforces the challenges of the creative process. It’s one that performer Jessica Park, who plays Triin, is all too aware of as she tackles the role of writer and director of the play within the play.
“I actually grew up in Germany and was born in Austria, and I moved out here to try to make things happen in the industry,” shares Park. “I related easily to my character because she’s working the writer/director life with a lot of rejection. She opens up her home to these other actors, and everyone is coming at her with suggestions. It’s hard for her not to be frustrated but at the same time to also be grateful that they’re even doing it together.”
For Rohumäe, the play upholds a mantra that she’s come to understand as essential for creatives moving to Los Angeles. What matters most is the trying and the fact that a creative spark exists, even for the briefest moment. “You just need to have faith and optimism to keep going, especially when something is not working. That’s my favorite part about this play: the characters always have hope.”
We’ll Come Back to the Title. It’s Fine opens on June 3rd, 2023 at The Zephyr Theatre. Tickets are available at https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/9972
The Zephyr Theatre
7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
For more information and to get tickets to We’ll Come Back to the Title. It’s Fine, please visit site: https://www.linktr.ee/wcbtttitsfine
SAT. 6/3 5PM
SUN. 6/11 4:45PM
SAT. 6/17 2PM
THU. 6/22 9:45PM
SAT. 6/24 10:15PM
Follow Liisi Rohumäe on Social Media:
(New posts often of the materials nature) Instagram & Liisi Rohumäe Twitter https://www.facebook.com/liisi.rohumae/
Leila Almas Rose https://www.instagram.com/leilaalmasrose/
Jessica Park https://www.instagram.com/jessica.kay.park/
Jaime Zevallos https://www.instagram.com/jaimezevallos/
Frankie Barrios https://www.instagram.com/dichoo303
Jamila Caine: email@example.com
Liisi Rohumäe: firstname.lastname@example.org