Herbert Siguenza

'Chavez Ravine: An L.A. Revival' misplays the drama

'Chavez Ravine: An L.A. Revival' misplays the drama

It's hard to imagine Culture Clash's "Chavez Ravine: An L.A. Revival" receiving a more handsome production than the one directed by Lisa Peterson at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, a retooled version of her 2003 staging of "Chavez Ravine" at the Mark Taper Forum.

But a play can't be manufactured from the stylish arrangement of scenic elements, and there's a nagging sense throughout of a dramatic deficiency being covered over. For a long time, however, Peterson's ace design team made me want to believe.

A rectangular screen hovering just above the action shows us vintage images of Los Angeles from the time when the area that is now the home of Dodger Stadium was a...