Playwright: Michael’s Spontaneous Combustion Production Group
Director: Michael T. Weiss
Set design: Josee Lemonnier
Sarah Jane Moody
Joan Ravenna [Sussman]
At the West Coast Ensemble Theater, 6240 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, Sept. 27, 1987, Thursdays –Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 7pm
Long housed in an old mortuary at Argyle and Hollywood Boulevard, the West Coast Ensemble re-established itself at a commodious new space in Hollywood on La Brea Blvd. in 2001.
In an article that was published in “Soap Opera People”, Vol. 3, No 7, November 1987 Michael talked with an unnamed interviewer about the play:
Michael Weiss of “Days Of Our Lives” is all excited these days, not just because his role of Dr. Mike Horton is beefing up, but because he’s written a play and it’s going to be done in Los Angeles in September.
“I’ve written a play with a group called Spontaneous Combustion. We wrote a play called “A Brush With Fate” and I’m directing it and we’re gonna do it in September and we’re real excited about it”, he told me happily.
“Do you have a theatre yet?” I asked.
“Well, hopefully. We haven’t signed the contract yet but it looks like we’re going to be at the West Coast Ensemble Theatre. I’m real excited about it. It’s good.”
“Are you going to be in it?”
“No, I’m just directing it.”
“That’s so exciting Michael. You didn’t tell me you had aspirations!”
“Well, it sort of happened this year. It was like a little project that we’ve been working on for about a year and a half.”
“Who is we?”
“I have a production company called Spontaneous Combustion Production Group and we’ve worked together since college. We’re a bunch of actors and writers and we got together and sort of did creative projects together and we put together this play over the course of a year and a half and it’s wonderful, I think. If I do say so myself.”
“Did you say you did some of the writing?”
“Yes” it was a collaborative effort. It was fun. We’ve been able to do it on stage and it is thrilling to watch people laugh. They just laugh at stage readings so. You never know how it will go. But we tried. That was another good working experience because we did it because we wanted to. If they don’t like it, they don’t like it. Of course, we want them to like it”, he said.
“Your family must be thrilled. They live in Chicago as I remember.”
“Yes — they’re all coming to see the play”, Michael said sounding happy as can be.
“It also gives a different aspect of your career”, I mused.
“Well, you know, I love directing, who knows!”
“Who knows what will come of it”, I added.
“A deeper understanding of being an actor having been on the other side.”
A Brush with Fate
Full-length farce about a commercially successful artist who is about to unveil his masterwork, the one even the critics will love, only problem is he’s dead. (4 women & 4 men)
— Ran for 3 months at the West Coast Ensemble Theatre in Hollywood during the L.A. Fringe Festival 1987.
A very entertaining look at the funny side of the dark side. –LA Reader
Excerpts from the review by Ray Loynd, LA Times / Stage Reviews: The Set’s The Topper In “Brush With Fate”, Sept. 4, 1987: Innocuous and sleek, “A Brush With Fate” at the West Coast Ensemble Theater registers a modicum of charm, dealing with a “Topper”-like character in a swank milieu derivate of 1930s screwball comedies. Ultimately, however, the lingering interest is Josee Lemonnier’s beautiful textured set design… The director is Michael T. Weiss. The theatre is stiffling without electric fans, but the ambiance and terraced sightlines are among Equity Waiver’s best.