SACRED FOOLS | MAINSTAGE 2001 - Feet

Congratulations to FEET for
3 GARLAND AWARD 2001 Honorable Mentions!
Playwrighting (Padraic Duffy) -- Direction (Jessie Marion)
Ensemble Performance (The Whole Cast!)

"Great comedy!"
 - LA TIMES

"Smart, vivacious...Artfully melds the mood of a Christopher Durang play with the nonlinear logic of a Monty Python skit...Rife with arch humor...Boasting crisp-to-perfection performances!"
- LA WEEKLY
RECOMMENDED! 

"To simultaneously laugh and think is an odd sensation for an audience, but it's inevitable here...A world that is so off-kilter it's the purest form of reality!"
 - BACKSTAGE WEST
CRITICS PICK! 

A World

Premiere


On the Sacred Fools Mainstage
March 15th - April 14th, 2001
Thur, Fri & Sat at 8pm
Tickets: $15
Reservations: (310) 281-8337
 or Purchase Tickets Online!
  Click here to guarantee your tickets online!

Produced by Rik Keller & Denise Barnard
Assistant Director - Bryan Bellomo

And Featuring...
Tina Ballabio,  Mauri Bernstein, Tom Chalmers, Tabatha Hall,
 Victor Isaac, Dean Jacobson, Corey Klemow, Ashley Leonard,
 Linda Miller, John Prince, Ruth Silveira, Casey Smith, Scott Stein

BUY THE SCRIPT!
"Feet" and "The Mechanical Rabbit"
Two Plays by Padraic T. Duffy
Now available from Fools Publishing 

 

REVIEWS!

LA WEEKLY (Recommended!)
- Click on the photo for a larger version & credits -

There’s nothing flat about Padraic Duffy’s smart, vivacious comedy, which artfully melds the mood of a Christopher Durang play with the nonlinear logic of a Monty Python skit. Rife with arch humor and inventive notions, Feet is, at times, maddeningly random — but in a droll sort of way. Boasting crisp-to-perfection performances, director Jessie Marion’s tightly choreographed staging delights and enervates, even when it defies easy summary. A tyrannical Sunday school teacher (Linda Miller) sadistically strives to keep order among her naughty 10-year-old students, who discuss feces and Platonic philosophy with equal gusto. Shy, Shakespeare-spouting Spencer (Corey Klemow) finds himself rivals with his best friend, hyperactive pup Petey (Tom Chalmers), for the affection of gawky new girl Susannah (Tabatha Hall). Meanwhile, Susannah’s decidedly weird father (John Prince) is inexplicably desperate to procure milk from a man in a cow suit (Casey Smith). Midway through Act 2, the surreal incidents and fever pitch falter a bit, as some situations lack emotional depth, with the admittedly trivial plot starting to feel artificially extended and spun out. Still, Marion’s assured staging never flags. Hall’s sniffling Susannah, Chalmer’s twitchy Petey, Smith’s snide Cow and Miller’s terrifying teacher also enthrall.

-- Paul Birchall
2001
LA WEEKLY

BACKSTAGE WEST (Critics Pick!)

To simultaneously laugh and think is an odd sensation for an audience, but it's inevitable here, as Padraic Duffy's world premiere play takes a potent look at language, makes a sweet study of the heart, and perceptively seems to conclude that the two don't always work together. The play's rhetorical delights include associative humor and multilevel visual puns: Imagine a composite of Under Milkwood, Waiting for Godot, The Memorandum, and The Life of Brian.

Director Jessie Marion offers a coherent vision of a world that is so off-kilter it's the purest form of reality. In it, we are introduced to a Sunday school teacher (Linda Miller), who teaches secular philosophy rather than religion. "How do we name things?" the teacher queries. That which makes a something something can be found within that something, she explains. She assigns the class homework: Bring in what a cow is. This sets in motion a series of interrelated stories; meanwhile the audience very well may be pondering the legalese of ex-President Clinton's attorneys: Much of our understanding depends on what "is" is.

The teacher's son, Spencer (Corey Klemow), is teacher's pet, largely because he's a good boy but also because he speaks only in exquisite rhyming iambic pentameter. He is a dreamer. His classmate Petey (Tom Chalmers) is a doer. And between them comes Susannah (Tabatha Hall), an allergic reaction on roller skates, who glides and sniffles her way into their hearts. Susannah's father, a businessman named Phil Fuller (John Prince), likes to feel breasts, is obsessed with milk, and has just bought a farm. And on this farm he has a Cow (a very tall Casey Smith), and Cow's best friend, Chipmunk (a very petite Mauri Bernstein). But Cow needs grass, and Phil has just noticed the usefulness of Jack (Victor Isaac), a black man sporting a tall green flattop (someone has taken a leaf from The Lion King's book).

Marion extracts abundant energy and intelligence from her actors, as well as uninhibited silliness-particularly in a slip-and-fall dance by Cow. None of the actors does youngster better than Dean Jacobson does: Oblivious to his appearance, he wears his backpack on his head, chews its strap, and finds creative ways to sit. Miller works at a near-maniacal level, playing fury to its funniest extent. Chalmers and Ashley West Leonard, as Lulu, wickedly capture the essence of "bad" kids in the class; Hall and Klemow fill their young characters with gentle sweetness and innocent wonderment. Tina Ballabio plays Kimberly-who says only "please" and "thank you," which does not necessarily a nice child make-almost entirely via her expressive eyes. And Prince plays an uptight businessman while Ruth Silveira plays the painful disciplined principal until we want to shake them.

The deceptively simple set designed by John Douglas Williams is created with painted rehearsal boxes and drop cloths. Sound design by Haynes Brooke helps delineate city from country. Lighting design by John Prince is part childlike fantasy and part beauty-filled nature, and costume design by Silveira provides ample visual cues to the characters.

-- Dany Margolies
2001
BACKSTAGE WEST

LA TIMES

The title of Padraic Duffy's whimsical comedy "Feet," at Sacred Fools Theatre, refers to a measure of linguistic rhythm and to the physical appendages. In both cases, the word suggests the power to take us on journeys.

The Sacred Fools company jumps wholeheartedly into Duffy's quirky world--where a young boy (Corey Klemow) can speak only in iambic pentameter, a man (Victor Isaac) sprouts grass on his head, a self-proclaimed boy cow (Casey Smith) talks, and children in the class of an overbearing Sunday school teacher (Linda Miller) get punished for speaking about God.

A businessman (John Prince) brings these people together when he begins spending weekends in the country. There he pressures his cow to give milk. The cow's best friend, a chipmunk (Mauri Bernstein), almost tells the man that male bovines aren't for milking but they do make great burgers. There's no mention of "mad cow" disease, but there is one mad and desperate cow searching for milk.

The boys in the class vie for the businessman's daughter, Susannah (Tabatha Hall), who glides on roller skates while sniffling as a result of hay fever.

Director Jessie Marion deftly defines this topsy-turvy world with Shannon Quaschnick and John Douglas Williams' simple set and backdrop curtains. Items such as trees and rocks are labeled as in a first-grade classroom.

The chemistry between Smith's cow and Bernstein's chipmunk makes for great comedy. Standouts among the actors portraying the squirmy children are Ashley West Leonard as a sexually precocious 10-year-old, Tom Chalmers as the overeager Petey, and Dean Jacobson as a boy who sports his backpack on his head and shoulders to imagine himself a bush hog.

Duffy's trifle seems to be about labels, with delirious references to "The Lion King" (a man with a grass crew cut and a boy pretending to be a hog). But while we have fun getting where we're going, we're not sure why he took us there.

-- Jana J. Monji
2001
LA TIMES

ANTELOPE VALLEY PRESS

An urgent e-mail from a critic colleague warned that a small-theater gem was being overlooked, and pleaded for consideration as this week's review. She was right. Padraic Duffy's "Feet," which, alas, runs only two more shows (today and Saturday), is a breathtakingly funny, superbly absurd ride through themes that pop up like figures along the twists and corners in a theme park ride.

 It is given legs by a keenly attuned and directed (by Jessie Marion) Sacred Fools Theater Company cast. What it is all about may depend on each viewer. One take: Duffy appears to explore, in a Monty Python-esque manner, the way maps- be they philosophical, religious, poetic, or pages out of a Thomas Guide - point us in a viable direction, but are not to be confused with actual realities we find along the way. As the character Susannah shows us- we only get somewhere when we finally put our feet firmly on the ground.

Again, that's just one idea.

Back to Susannah. She is played by Tabatha Hall, who shines amid an already consistently delightful cast. Hall shows great comic skills in the role, while portraying the shifting moods, expressions, and awareness of a 10-year-old girl.

Susannah enters a Sunday School taught by a demented Aristotelian teacher (Linda Miller) trying to impose logic that is over the heads of a squirming class on the cusp of early sexual awakening.

There's nerdy Francis (Scott Stein), precocious Lulu (Ashley West Leonard, whose over-the-top MAD TV performance actually works here), Spanky (Dean Jacobson), dreamy Spencer (Corey Klemow), Petey (Tom Chalmers), kleptomaniac Kimberly who speaks only three words: "please, thank you" (Tina Ballabio). At Susannah's farm home, her father (John Prince) is trying to get milk from a guy who lives there, wearing a cow suit (Casey Smith), supported by his friend the oh so cut chipmunk (Mauri Bernstein). Dad hires an out- of-work janitor, with tall green grass for hair (Victor Isaac), to get the cow to produce. It's a show to be seen more than once, because so much happens, so fast. But there's only two chances left to see it all.

-- Steve Hendrickson
2001
ANTELOPE VALLEY PRESS