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Life on the (l)edge: Beau Bridges performs staged reading of 'K2' the play

March 19, 2011

A family affair, with nephew Marcel Lloyd and daughter Emily Bridges

Every climber has probably wondered, at some point in an ascent, what would happen if he were injured, stuck on a narrow ledge far from help.

That is the setting of the play “K2” by Patrick Meyers, which will have a staged reading at the Edison Theatre on Saturday, March 26.

Actors Beau Bridges and his nephew Marcel Lloyd portray two climbers, Harold and Taylor, who are stranded on an icy shelf at 27,000 feet up the world’s second highest mountain.

A portion of the ledge crumbles away, they lose some of their gear and they have only one rope left to try and save both their lives.

Harold is a physicist who has found an almost mystic satisfaction in his selfless love for his wife and young son. Taylor is an arch-conservative, womanizing assistant district attorney who sees personal gratification as the focus of existence.

According to the play’s director, Shira Dubrovner, “this thrilling, challenging play uses mountain climbing as a metaphor to explore a deeper theme: the recognition that human beings are free to choose whether they will live or die and do so calmly and objectively, even under the most severe conditions.”

Their running conversation begins in a lighthearted vein but gradually shades into an absorbing discussion of the meaning and value of life.

“It’s an intellectual piece,” Dubrovner said.

“The words are quite beautiful and interesting, profound in some areas,” said Beau Bridges from Los Angeles this week. “They’re faced with their own mortality where they only have each other. ...They get very honest because they realize this may be the last time they see each other.”

The drama will unfold on the stage of the Edison Theatre, just two men and two chairs without sets. As a staged reading they will be reading scripts. The part of the narrator will be played by Bridges’ daughter Emily.

This will not be the first time the Bridges family members have acted together. Most movie fans remember the dynamics of the two Bridges brothers, Beau and Jeff, in “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”

The tradition began way back when their father Lloyd Bridges brought both boys into his TV series, “Sea Hunt.”

“My father loved working with his family. I’ve continued that,” Bridges said, although he and Marcel haven’t worked together publicly. It is clear that his experience is heightened when able to share it with his family.

Last year during a tribute to Jill Kinmont Boothe, Beau and Emily Bridges performed their recently completed play, “Acting: The First Six Lessons.” The play is an adaptation of Richard Boleslavsky’s 1933 book by the same name.

According to backstage.com, “the play brings to life the great building blocks of great performances. The Bridges also portray the two characters of the book: the acting coach and the young, at first inept, student, known through as the Teacher and the Creature.”

Bridges’ friendship with Jill Kinmont began when he was in his 20s and filming “The Other Side of the Mountain” in Mammoth, and they’ve been friends ever since. Bridges said Mammoth has always been important to him. “I’ve been coming up there all my life, both winter and summer.”

Beau Bridges’ and Marcel Lloyd’s staged reading of “K2” is the centerpiece of the spring fund raising evening at Edison Hall for the Mammoth Lakes Foundation.

Bridges will fly to Mammoth, taking a break from the TV series, “Brothers and Sisters.”

It’s appetizers and drinks at 6 p.m. March 26 at Edison Hall, with the reading at 7 p.m., and raffle and dessert at 8 o’clock. Tickets are $100. (760) 934-3781.

His desire is to give to this community, and “I really look forward to coming there to perform and meeting some of the folks of the town,” Bridges said.

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