SACRED FOOLS | MAINSTAGE 2001 - Chopin In Space

Chopin in Space
A Play of Dis-location

By Phil Bosakowski
Directed by Michael Rainey
Produced by Shelley Wenk

On the Sacred Fools Mainstage...
January 25 - February 24, 2001
Thur, Fri & Sat @ 8pm
Tickets: $15
Reservations: (310) 281-8337
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FEATURING...
Chopin - Jeff Goldman
Beezo/Nancy Reagan - Carla Jo Bailey
Marya - Majken Larsson
Hitler/Stash - Paul Plunkett
The Pope/FDR/Ronald Reagan - Stan Freitag
Babci/Eleanor Roosevelt - Pogo Saito
Eugene Delacroix/Harry Truman/The Tank - Tom Chalmers
The Bear - Ariadne Shaffer

Lighting Design - Chris Childs
Set Design - Mike Rainey
Assistant Director - Amy Thiel
Stage Manager - Joe Jordan
Costume Design - M. E. Dunn
Sound Design - Jonathan Goldstein
Technical Direction - Rik Keller
Props - Stephen Butchko, Deirdre V. Lyons & Shirley Anderson
Graphic Design - M. D. Rainey

REVIEWS!

LA THEATER GUY

An eclectic fantasy about the life of the famous composer and Polish National Hero Fredric Chopin. A jigsaw puzzle of surrealistic images from the 19th and 20th Century.

The basic story revolves around Chopin's dreams of a great and free Poland. He travels to France to meet the Painter Delacroix and tries to involve him in his plans for Poland.

Then he is off to America to make his case with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and finally with the Reagans. The Pope pops in from time to time to remind us that God has a plan and to represent a church that has turned its back on the people. Hitler is here to terrorize and Russia is represented by a huge bear that is continually causing havoc. This is a perpetual motion machine of a play....It's like seeing a Dali painting come alive.

Jeff Goldman portrays a determined Chopin with good style. However, the runaway star of this production is Stan Freitag who does a great Groucho Marx, a smirking Pope, and an absolutely uncanny Ronald Reagan (with hints of the Alzheimer's to come) who assures Chopin that he will attain the immortality of Walter Brennan and have his hand prints on Hollywood Blvd. The vivacious Carla Jo Bailey's portrayal of Nancy Reagan was superb. Paul Plunkett plays Hitler wonderfully, including some very clever staging by Michael Rainey who places Hitler on a platform in the background drawing pictures of tanks and burning synagogues. He then hangs these on a clothesline going across the back of the stage and one after another they march across like the clouds of war that are gathering. Majken Larsson, Pogo Saito, Tom Chalmers, and Ariadne Shaffer put in very professional performances.

The set design by Mike Rainey and lighting by Chris Childs was superbly crafted and executed....Lush hanging drapes frame the stage and the use of platforms and changing scrims was well thought out.

"Chopin In Space" is a clever piece of work by writer Phil Bosakowski. One interpretation is that as Chopin lays dying, he is having flashbacks and flashforwards of his most cherished dreams and hopes for Poland. If there is any fault with this play it is the paucity and scarcity of Chopin's music. I would have liked to have heard a lot more of it. Go see it!

-- Herb Rubinstein
2001 LA THEATER GUY