Ali began acting onstage with SCCT Regional Theater and has gone on to perform in productions across the country.
The American Repertory Theater's Experimental Stage
The American Repertory Theater's Oberon Stage
The American Repertory Theater's Main Stage
The Gosnell Stage at The Bedrosian Pavillion
The Complex Hollywood's Flight Theater
The Complex Hollywood's Oh My Ribs Theater
Thousand Oaks Civic Theater
Harvard Adams Pool Theater
Fullerton Civic Light Opera
Harvard's Agassiz Theater
UCLA's Royce Hall
Arts @29 Garden
Sam Shepard's Fool For Love
at the Stella Adler Theater in Los Angeles
By Karen Glienke
Professor at UCLA Graduate School of Film and Television
"The execution of this little gem was spot-on, from the superb performances brimming with emotional honesty to the intimacy of the set and a unpredictable story arc that leads the audience to clever depths of empathy and insight. Ali Astin and Jake Corvino are perfect in this 50 minute journey bringing together two characters we think we recognize, only to expose deeper truths about the complexity of gender, sexual, cultural and sociocultural — some timeless, others specific to the modern age. This is not one to be quickly forgotten!
Thanks to stellar writing, direction and strong performances, I found myself transfixed by the dynamic between these two characters and the smart and surprising shifts of perspective and interplay between role-playing and biting self-revelation. The writer is not content with merely entertaining, but cleverly sets the audience up to challenge any assumptions they may have dared to make. One of the most thought-provoking hours on the stage I’ve seen in ages. I highly recommend this show."
By Bob Leggett
This show was impeccable, and wonderfully written and directed. The show starred Jake Corvino and Ali Astin, the amazing actress daughter of Sean Astin, best known to millions as “Sam” in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In today’s era of #MeToo, female empowerment and sexual politics, this show was right on point. Both Astin and Corvino turned in Tony Award-worthy performances as a call girl and her virgin client. The story takes you in one direction and then shifts into an entirely different one, with mind-blowing results. Trust us when we say that you will walk away from this one with an entirely new perspective on the world’s oldest profession.
By Tracy Paleo
By Russell Eaton
My Haunt Life
The beauty of the Hollywood Fringe Festival is the opportunity to just explore and find something new and entertaining. Each year I deliberately choose a few tickets just to explore. Sometimes, you get really lucky and find a show like The Rental.
Playing out in real time, a sexual encounter between two strangers (played by Alexandra Astin and Jake Corvino) shifts from sharing a moment of tenderness to an intense examination of personal integrity and sexual politics. (How self-aware are we, really? Even the best person with the best intentions may carry subtle personal prejudices they are unaware of possessing.) This fascinating drama takes a familiar sounding premise and manages to create a thought-provoking, fast-moving hour
The premise is so familiar it’s almost a joke. A virgin encounters an escort, it’s a familiar set up that has been played out before. However, this show takes the set up very seriously. The result is a fascinating conversation as secrets get revealed and personal beliefs get challenged and, sometimes, destroyed.
The solid writing, direction and strong performances manage to move these two characters through several surprising perspective shifts. Sex changes everything between these two people. When each person compromises a personal rule or two, even to a small degree, the honesty concerning what is truly important to each of them is revealed – sometimes brutally. It’s a tricky balance and this show does it well.
The sexual aspect of the show is handled with grace and humor and is the perfect set-up for the surprises to come. Perhaps the pace of the show could be slightly quicker in the first half, but it’s important to know these two well before their actions begin to test their fragile connection to each other. One of the more mature, thoughtful pieces I have seen this year.
Gia On The Move
Lead actress (and executive producer) Alexandra Astin really packs a wallop in this straight-up/sexed-down, provocative comedy by degrees.
Keith (Jake Corvino), a 20-something college virgin, is gifted the birthday present of app-scheduled call girl, Elise (aka Honey), as a solution to his dating failures. Throughout the barely successful sexual encounter, Keith continues to want something more intimate. And Honey obliges, even going so far as to reveal her actual name. At the moment of connectionhowever, Keith suddenly discovers that they have more in common than he would like. Attending the same university for starters, and possible other shared relationships that are way too close for comfort. And it sends him into an insulting panic. All his initial shy politeness instantaneously gets exchanged for serious jerk behavior.
Honey fights back, challenging all of Keith’s sophomoric ideas about women, sex, status, even comparing their earning ability and, as she points out, the lie he tells himself – that his lack of self-confidence is why he can’t have sex with a woman. He’s just an asshole.
It’s a tear-down that leaves him with pretty much nothing to do but pick up his belongings and walk out the door.
Admittedly, where the writing is concerned, the piece is as smart as it is hot. But there are moments when one wonders how Honey, unshakable as she is, outright gets away with such a ballsy confrontation in what could also easily come across as a female revenge fantasy. (It doesn’t though.) Keith’s cowardice is generally enough to rein in most of his fanciful behaviors. But what really prevents him from carrying out a physical slap-down?
In any case, both Astin and Corvino are well matched in casting and intensity, and convincingly play the scenario as highly probable. They are both so likable, it makes The Rental digestibly believable and even a bit titillating.
By Winston Salvatori
"Ali Astin. I was in awe of her talent, after years of studying under some of the best actors. She has that gift that we all hope for. Let it be known that SHE makes the show worth seeing.
Astin steals the show! From the moment you walk into the theater, she is in character and embodies an empowered escort. Throughout the show, her stage presence is commanding and she connects to the message of feminism flawlessly. Both actors had great chemistry, but I would watch it again for Ali Astin’s performance."
By BJ Garnaus
I loved that it was real. Actors didn’t hold back. Femme power played out beautifully.
Absolutely brilliant! Writing, acting, directing…excellent! I loved every minute of this 50-minute play. Astin and Corvino were amazing! It delivered what it promised. From a shy, uncertain virgin and a caring, knows-her-stuff prostitute, to an angry, virgin-no-more, and a stand-up, right-on, full-on confident, no BS prostitute! Feminine power explodes! It’s a significantly powerful, funny at the perfect times, awesome play.
"Astin especially seemed to pour herself into her role: Sporting an impressive Chiswick accent, her Jim was acutely earnest and convincingly desperate. Her powerful presence at center stage helped to mitigate the script’s flaws and to build tension through the gripping climax."
- Trevor J. Levin, Crimson Staff Writer The Harvard Crimson