Maahra Hill and Anne Kathryn Parma

The composition or combination of parts or elements to form a whole
Merriam Webster dictionary definition

A girl with a fern and a passion for GOD and her unconventional friends This Writer’s definition

A girl and her fern. A girl and her fern and GOD. A girl and her fern, GOD and her “interesting” friends. Whichever way you think of it, Synthesis is on hilarious point in molding all three components extremely well. There’s guaranteed laughter from start to finish. Writer Paul Shoulberg does a superb job in keeping the dialogue free flowing like an excellent bottle of Cristal. Under Stan Zimmerman’s fantastic direction, the two create a show that’s not only amusing but also a joy to behold.

All photos by Kim Beavers
Anne Kathryn Parma as Shay.

It all begins with Shay (a wonderful Anne Kathryn Parma) when she was a resident at a rehab center battling her heroin addiction. She keeps her healthy, green fern close by the way Peanuts character Linus does with his blue blanket. While in rehab, she meets someone who needs more help than she does. Ready (Michael Minto) is a nice tall glass of a mojito cocktail, that must be sipped slowly or you’ll choke on its citrus taste. Every time he steps up his game, she knocks him down. Nevertheless, he’s persistent. Shay is insistent on getting help and kinda, sort of, finds it with her newly minted “therapist” Lana (Maahra Hill). Calling a Lana a therapist is a bit rash. Let’s say therapist-in-training or even intern. She received her Ph.D. at an uncredited online school. Shay shudders at that thought, but, she’s been sober for four months and wants continue on that path.

Dr. Lana asks, her first and only patient, what’s up with the fern? After admitting that Shay killed Jesus, Dr. Lana sits quiet. Not a good sign. Another bad sign is her university professor James (Clayton Farris). James is a nerdish, bookish botanist. He’s also a vodka swilling-from-the bottle lush, erotica reading connoisseur who soon falls in love with Shay. She’s not happy about this. All she wants is advice on how to keep her precious fern alive. “I like having life around me,” she tells James. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get that love back. She tries again with her former rehab lover Ready, who is now a self-proclaimed prophet. Shay just can’t catch an elusive break. On cue, she turns to her precious fern and to GOD for help. You gotta love the girl.

Shoulberg does an excellent job creating four likable, if not disturbed, characters looking for something bigger than themselves. Shay is the catalyst who starts the transformation, which the others eventually connect with and proceed to alter their situation, into something much better then what they already have. She never loses focuses even when those around her are losing their damn mind. You can sympathize with Shay, maybe not get her obsession with her fern, but that’s okay. Everyone has something, or should have something, to cling on to when your mind is worried with fright with and concern about what’s behind door number three.
Zimmerman does an excellent job in executing Shoulberg’s vision. Together they created a fun, hysterical enjoy-the-ride show. It would be a shame to miss this wonderful production so go. GO NOW!!

Synthesis ends Sunday, January 29th at 5 p.m., playing at The Dorie inside the Complex Theater, located at 6476 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. For ticket reservation, log on to