TAKING OVER: Danny Hoch vs. Culver City

I read recently that president Obama's mother-in-law is not a big fan of health food. She likes fried chicken and doesn't want to be told what to feed those sweet little girls when she's taking care of them - likes the old neighborhood on the south side of Chicago and doesn't like "alot of fuss". Well she's moving into the White House and she's going to have to get used to some serious changes.

The characters in Taking Over, the newest play by writer/director Danny Hoch, don't like the changes to their neighborhoods and they don't have to watch what they say in order to stay politically correct - so they let you know loud and clear and in their native tongues. Hoch comes out near the end of the show, sans any character trappings and confesses his ambivalence about the phenomena of gentrification. The point is made very effectively - I get it.

I'm around Hoch's age, I grew up in New York in the 70's 80's 90's. I just moved out here about a year ago. I miss the old days and I get the lure of the new days. I'm sure the same thing has happened out here to one degree or another.

While watching the show, I was thinking how I've lived through gentrification as a parent. But when you've got a kid, you look at where you live through their eyes and that makes it a little easier to bear the loss of your own youth and the world you grew up in. Taking Over is great. Hoch is a huge talent. 42nd street has become Disneyland, Hollywood Boulevard has become Disneyland. I don't really like Disneyland , but my kids - they love it.

TAKING OVER runs until Feburary 22, 2009 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. For tickets and showtimes click here. To watch an exclusive video interview with Danny Hoch, click here.

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