And the Splendor of the Colorless Light of Emptiness
Luminous Birch
Review by Ross Anthony

Luminous Birch Here's an interesting live event that integrates film and stage. Film reviewers have commented that certain productions create characters so real that they climb right out of the screen. Well L. Birch literally does. In the film - bearded, on the stage - bald and uniquely lit, Birch seeks desperately to free his love who is being held captive on some sandy shoreline in the images on screen.

The screen flickers in 1920's silent film style, highly-contrasted, black and white. However, the shaky camera and often jump-cut sequences, make getting used to the production as rocky as the beach. Fortunately, in their tribute to silent films, the producers include a loving humor and we as the audience are able to laugh a little at these quirky characters amidst the seriousness of love lost. Ultimately, we're captured by the charm.

No words are ever spoken, but printed across the screen, again in silent movie style. In the place of verbiage, music more than rises to the task of entertaining our ears. A moody expressive piano begins and then is joined by a sweet section of strings. It's a beautiful composition and the theatre realizes it with a fine sound system. Eventually, the tracks become varied with bits of songs and more new-age sounds. (I was disappointed to find no credit information for music composition.)

Writer/Director Randy Sean Schulman explores various ways for his character (Birch) to interact with the stage and screen intermittently. At first, it's exciting, eerily surreal, but as the production continues, becomes less so. He uses a sort of slow modern dance and his apt face to express feelings of love, common to all of us. He's quite endearing. We root for him. But in the end, unless I've missed something (and I certainly may have), I'm left wondering what greater message has been displayed here.

That said, let me praise the cleverness. I adored the idea of using more than one projector, sometimes casting shadows, sometimes not, this added to the eerie feel. Also, Birch's "helmet" and arm apparatus are gorgeous inventions of light and wire. And then, in the midst of this intriguing head adornment, if we look close enough, we see a small wheel, an old 8mm-film reel, slowly turning behind a magnified light. Beautiful, brilliant, an echo of the film motif, perhaps a hint at the idea that what we think or see is just ourselves projecting. (Or am I over psychoanalyzing?)

Oh, and great brochure art by Shaun Barrios.

Luminous Birch
-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • Luminous Birch And the Splendor of the Colorless Light of Emptiness. Copyright © 2009.
  • Based on the April 5th, 2009 performance at Greenway Court Theatre, Los Angeles. Written and Performed by Randy Sean Schulman. Produced by Greenway Arts Alliance and Lauda Flores and Randy Sean Schulman.

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 15-Apr-2009 21:57:30 PDT