SACRED FOOLS | DARK NIGHT 2008 - Puttin' on the Fritz



JANUARY 29 - FEBRUARY 27, 2008
Tuesdays & Wednesdays @ 8pm

Tickets: $10
Reservations: (310) 281-8337
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Sasha Harris, David Nett, Elizabeth Schmidt & Edmund Wyson

Mark Charron, Karen Corona, Julia Griswold, Michael Holmes,
David LM Mcintyre, Laura Napoli, Andrew Thacher & Thesy Surface

Lights, Sets & Props by Christopher Gyre
Costumes by Noriko Kakihara
Graphic Design by Bobby Stapf

These plays were first produced in the THE FRITZ BLITZ OF NEW PLAYS at San Diego's Fritz Theatre.



Fourth wall? These two one-acts smash right through it by introducing their characters with a series of smart monologues. When the playwrights repair the wall by having their people bicker, kiss and analyze each other, however, the plays lose their authority. In Steven A. Lyons' cute Peaches en Regalia, a chipper naif named Peaches (Elizabeth Schmidt) is inspired to become a waitress by her diner's signature dessert — a concoction of canned fruit, iceberg lettuce, cottage cheese and paprika — four oddities seeking cohesion, not unlike Peaches and her and fellow patrons, Sasha Harris, David Nett and Edmund Wyson. More twisty is Scott Stein's Scott Stein's First Play: A New Play by Scott Stein, in which the narrator, Scott Stein (David LM McIntyre), attempts to wrest control of his memories from the other Scott Steins and associates (Mark Charron, Karen Corona, Julia Griswold, Michael Holmes, Laura Napoli, Andrew Thacher and Thesy Surface), only to recognize the impossibility of knowing yourself when you can't even remember everything you did last month. Directed by Duane Daniels, it's a nicely staged gem of philosophy that would be twice as strong at half the length.

--Amy Nicholson
© 2008 L.A. Weekly

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Puttin’ On The Fritz, now playing off-nights at Sacred Fools, is a pair of new one-acts which premiered at the Fritz Blitz of New Plays at San Diego’s Fritz Theater.

Thumbs up for the first of the two, which not surprisingly won the Best of the Blitz Award in 2005. Peaches En Regalia is a very funny, cleverly constructed, and original short comedy which Duane Daniels has directed with flair.

Peaches En Regalia (the menu item) is, for those like myself unaware of its existence, a “cross between a dessert and a side dish” which consists of a half peach on a bed of lettuce, filled with cottage cheese, and topped with a cherry.

Peaches En Reaglia (the play) begins with an extended monolog given by a young waitress named, it just so happens, Peaches (a very perky Elizabeth Schmidt). Peaches (the waitress, not the fruit)’s favorite restaurant happens to be Doug’s Diner, so when her college business prof invited her out on a date, it made total sense to her to have dinner there, and not at some fancy French restaurant. Naďve Peaches only realized that it was a date, and not a student-teacher conference, when he tried to kiss her goodnight. Fortunately, in a bit of quick thinking, she pretended that his attempt at a kiss was a sneeze, told him “Bless you,” and that was the end of that. The one good thing that came out of this date was Peaches’ decision to stop working at Merril Lynch and take a job at Doug’s Diner, and that’s when she accidentally spilled Peaches En Regalia on a customer’s lap. (Oh, Peaches’ theory that all contemporary history can be linked to fluctuations in gas prices is mentioned somewhere along the way and should not be forgotten, because it comes up later in the play.)

In a second monolog, we meet Norman (David Nett in a comedic tour de force as the nerd to end all nerds). Pathologically (and hysterically) shy Norman has lately taken to reading self-help books to cure himself of his timidity. “I have been practicing social banter,” he tells us excitedly, and just as seriously, informs us that “I am practicing acting secure by learning to wink as a form of communication.” He’s also taking a Time Management class, learning skills which he practices while waiting behind another man in line for a restroom stall in Doug’s Diner, where Peaches has spilled Peaches (En Regalia) on his trousers. How exactly does he practice time management? Why by practicing winking in the restroom mirror. When another Doug’s Diner customer fails to “respect the circle of trust” by dashing ahead of the two men in line and taking a stall which, unbeknownst to the two men, was empty all along, Doug explodes and a new man is born.

Monolog # 3 is by Joanne (a funny Sasha Harris), Peaches’ friend from work, a woman as in love with flow charts as she is with angora sweaters. In her flow charts, Joanne has her life all planned ahead of her. Trouble is, she’s hit 35, and that’s when her flow charts all lead to her being married, which she’s not. But then she meets a man in a Chinese hand laundry (an event that wasn’t even a box on her flow charts!) who’s brought in a stained pair of trousers, and the stain just happens to have been made by…

And this is where Peaches En Regalia becomes a real honest-to-goodness play, with characters who actually interact with each other. A fourth character, Syd (a very good Edmund Wyson), arrives at Doug’s Diner in the mood for a tasty dessert, and though Peaches En Regalia sounds like “just peaches with cheese on top,” on Peaches’ urging, he decides to give it a try.

Peaches, Norman, Joanne, and Syd all get together in a delicious finale involving Joanne’s “Jasmine Panties Theory of Love,” the discovery that certain characters have already met, and a surprise double twist that gives all four characters, and the audience, a happy ending as scrumptious as Peaches En Regalia.

The second play, also directed by Daniels, is entitled Scott Stein’s First Play: A New Play by Scott Stein, by Scott Stein. It is very avant garde and those who are not fans of this genre will find themselves bewildered. Five actors play Scott Stein, or at least someone named Scott Stein. One of these Scott Steins is the narrator, who gradually loses control of his narrative as another of the Scott Steins talks about being present for the Cultural Revolution in China (which was before the real (?) Scott Stein’s time), and there’s something about 10-year-old hooker and her pimp, and a 3 hour musical about Friar Tuck. Confused? On the plus side, there is some very unusual lighting by Christopher Gyre (including scenes lit entirely in blue and others lit by the actors holding flashlights). The cast of eight (Mark Charron, Karen Corona, Julia Griswold, Michael Holmes, David LM Mcintyre, Laura Napoli, Andrew Thacher & Thesy Surface) do earnest work.

--Steven Stanley
© 2008
L.A. StageScene
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