SACRED FOOLS | DARK NIGHT 2008 - Welcome to the Moon


directed by Ruth Silveira

A visit to the inner landscape of the heart is like walking on the moon - surprising, foreign, exhilarating, terrifying... and bouncy.  We all tend to be a little silly when we get there.

June 3 - 25, 2008
Tues-Weds @ 8pm
plus Sun, Jun 15 & 22 @ 8pm

Running Time:  One Hour

Tickets: $10
Reservations: (310) 281-8337
or Buy Tickets Online!

starring Kimberly Atkinson, Tyler Brooks,
Paul Byrne, Blythe Evans, Aaron Francis,
Rachele Gueli, Marc Jablon & Sean Sweeney

Understudy: Stacey Jackson

Assistant Director
Set Designer
Prop Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Assistant Sound Design

Tech Wrangler

Graphic Design
Associate Producer

Jessie Marion
Carlo Pittaluga
Elspeth Weingarten
Rebecca Spolans
Aaron Francis
Tim Labor
Jaime Robledo
Ruth Silvera
Natasha Norman
Noel Balacuit
Haven Hartman
Jaime Andrews
  & Carlo Pittaluga
Corey Klemow
Rafael Clements
Lisa Anne Nicolai

Moon Photo by Thomas Williamson
and used by kind permission



Always game to experiment, John Patrick Shanley has delivered a tremendous variety of stories, from the magical romance of the movie "Moonstruck" to the tense stare-down of the play (and soon-to-be film) "Doubt."

He's also known for bleak but intermittently tender comedies. Three of these are playing locally: the early-'80s "Welcome to the Moon and Other Plays" and "Savage in Limbo" and 2001's "Where's My Money?"


The six brief plays of 1982's "Welcome to the Moon and Other Plays" are an early-week offering by the Sacred Fools. Shanley demonstrates terrific economy of storytelling in these tales of people who yearn to have another person hear their deepest hopes and perhaps share -- or at least understand -- their feelings. Director Ruth Silveira stages the pieces with the charming simplicity of "Our Town" or "The Fantasticks," using low-tech, plywood set pieces and few furnishings.

The tales include a sweet story about a teen (Sean Sweeney) who nervously spills his feelings for a neighborhood girl and a touching mock western in which a sheltered town girl (Blythe Evans) yearns for the wide-open spaces known by a loping cowboy (Paul Byrne). The best two are tales of contemporary Manhattan guys -- both feature Tyler Brooks and Marc Jablon, standouts in this cast of eight -- who dare to reveal their vulnerability.

Here, as in so many of Shanley's stories, words must be spoken, actions must be taken, before it's too late.

-- Daryl H. Miller
L.A. Times


AA year before John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea started turning heads, and five years before his Oscar for Moonstruck, these six short plays about the trials of love and the courage needed to communicate one's deepest feeling to another debuted in New York. Each takes place in a different location, including a mermaid-stocked lake in Central Park and indigenous bars in the Bronx and the Wild West, but all share a unifying theme: dreams so grand they must be revealed no matter the risk.

From the woebegone, love-struck kid (Sean Sweeney) who admits his feelings to a girl (Blythe Evans) oblivious to the panging of his heartstrings, to the neighborhood hangout in the title play where a local hood (Sweeney) professes his love for his lifelong goombah (Tyler Brooks), mostly ordinary folks are forced into corners where the only solution is being ridiculous in order to make some preposterously improbable vision come true.

At their dawning in 1982, this sextet might not have provided a clear indication Shanley would one day win a Pulitzer for his remarkable Doubt, but it wouldn't have been difficult to see that the guy was going somewhere. Director Ruth Silveira understands this and gets out of the way, staging the pieces with utmost simplicity, including using flimsy cardboard set decorations put in place by stagehands (Rachele Gueli and Aaron Francis) ready to break into a tango at a moment's notice, and leading her eight actors to each contribute genuine, heartfelt performances. Everyone is beautifully committed to staying on the same page despite the widely divergent styles of the pieces, although Sweeney -- half French Stewart and half Buster Keaton -- is particularly endearing, and Paul Byrne's transformation from tortured Renaissance ne'er-do-well poet to stoic cowboy to cigar-chompin' bartender is a major asset in Silveira's quest for windmills.

As with so many first passes by writers destined for greatness, revisiting this material is a fascinating experience, hearing the signature nuances inherent in Shanley's voice burst forth without a shred of the inevitable slickness that comes from success -- or the equally inescapable cynicism ready to come along for the ride.

-- Travis Michael Holder
2008 BackStage West