“The Ants” at the Geffen Playhouse

What does wealth and privilege afford you during turbulent times? Playwright Ramiz Monsef explores themes of class, wealth, and social unrest in his new horror play The Ants, now playing at the Geffen Playhouse. This darkly humorous two-act drama runs through July 30, 2023.

Pictured above: Megan Hill in The Ants at Geffen Playhouse. Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh. Photo by Aaron Epstein.

After a bizarre opening monologue, The Ants focuses on three characters; Nami (Nicky Boulos), and his brother Shahid (Ryan Shrime) and sister-in-law Meredith(Megan Hill). Nami has recently been fired from his job and evicted from his home. These dire circumstances have forced him to crash at his brother and sister-in-law’s luxurious pad for the time being. Here, he gains a view of the privileged lifestyle his brother enjoys, having married a tech genius who has created a breathtaking house on a hill—complete with the most state-of-the-art security that excessive wealth can buy.

On this dark and fateful night, a violent uprising breaks out outside the house. The three characters are trapped inside, which they believe is an impenetrable fortress. They soon realize, however, that they are not nearly as safe as they thought they might be.

Despite its suspenseful plot and flashes dark humor, The Ants is a mostly baffling exploration of social issues designed to provoke introspection. In highlighting the growing divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” of present-day society, Ramiz Monsef presents a grim picture of the not-so-distant future. Darker themes, such as violence and death, are examined with a smattering of gallows humor.

To complement the action, performances were pitched at a heightened level, that bordered on overacting. Director Pirronne Yousefzadeh also ensures the experience is discomforting for the audience with the abundant use of piercing sound design by John Nobori and flashing lights by lighting designer Pablo Santiago to punctuate the over-the-top drama. The fight choreography by fight director Julie Ouellette is probably the best thing about this play.

While The Ants proves to be a thought-provoking play that raises important questions about class, wealth, social upheaval, and survival, it’s definitely not for all tastes.

L-R: Ryan Shrime and Nicky Boulos in The Ants at Geffen Playhouse. Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh. Photo by Aaron Epstein.
The Ants

Playing now through July 30, 2023.

Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, with an intermission.

The Geffen Playhouse

Gil Cates Theater at Geffen Playhouse

10886 Le Conte Avenue,

Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood)

Monday No performance
Tuesday – Friday 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 and 6:00 p.m.

Written by Ramiz Monsef

Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh


Hugo Armstrong as The Brain

Nicky Boulos as Nami

Megan Hill as Meredith

Jeremy Radin as The Pizza Guy

Ryan Shrime as Shahid


Scenic Designer Carolyn Mraz

Costume Designer Dominique Fawn Hill

Lighting Designer Pablo Santiago

Sound Designer John Nobori

Projection Designer Hana S. Kim

Magic Consultant Dominik Krzanowski

Assistant Director Susanna Jaramillo

Fight Director Julie Ouellette

Dramaturg Olivia O’Connor

Production Stage Manager Darlene Miyakawa

Casting Director Phyllis Schuringa, CSA

This play was created during the Geffen Playhouse’s The Writers’ Room program, in which Los Angeles playwrights develop new works with the support and guidance of the Geffen Playhouse artistic team. Major support for this world premiere production provided by the Edgerton Foundation New Play Production Fund.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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