West, a play by Steven Berkoff depicting the hard, gritty, working-class milieu of London’s East End, will be performed at the Electric Lodge in Venice beginning Friday, January 15th and continuing through February 6th.

Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice.

The play tells of protagonist Mike, who belongs to a local gang and is called upon to avenge the slaying of one of its members by the rival Hoxton Mob. Mike is selected to be his gang’s “fair one,” chosen to represent his mates in single combat against his rival member, the Hoxton Monster, a formidable thug of singular brutality and menace.

Mike views his approaching battle with some suitable trepidation. Seeking emotional support, he finds his fellows deserting him. He might receive some succor from his girlfriend Sylv, if only he hadn’t neglected her so often.

Mike is alienated from his hostile father, and only his mother loves him.

Berkoff states that West is about courage: the courage to live according to your spirit and not the guidelines laid down for you by others, to be true to yourselfÖYour truth is worth pursuing since it defines who you are.”

The writer says that what makes West unusual as a gang drama is that it is written and performed in verse.

Bruce Cooper, the director of the new production of West, has written and directed numerous short films, including “Dog Eat Dog” and “The Waitress Conspiracy.” Priscilla Boksan is producing the play.

The cast of West includes Dixie Arnold, Kira Brannlund, Annie Burgstede, Dennis Kleinsmith, Brick Patrick, Kate Roxburgh, Joshua Schell, Brad Schmidt and Joshua Zain.

Costume design is by Ann Somers Major and lighting design is by Jenny Hodges. Fight choreography is by Joe Sofranko and dance choreography is by Autumn Fawn.

A preview is scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14th. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students.

For reservations, (310) 823-0710. Information, www.hellion-pictures.com/west/.

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