affirms the desire to follow one's dreams."
LA Weekly PICK OF THE WEEK!
and impressively realized...
a large and gifted cast...
[a] vivid, richly disorienting endeavor."
- LA Times
TO AARON FRANCIS,
RECIPIENT OF TWO 2002 GARLAND AWARDS HONORABLE MENTIONS:
for DIRECTION and SCENIC DESIGN!
from top left:
Liesel Kopp, Ashley West Leonard,
Tara Platt, Mark Schrier and Ruth Silveira.
(For more production photos, click here.)
On the Sacred Fools Mainstage...
Thu, Fri & Sat @ 8pm
May 30 - June 29, 2002
Reservations: (310) 281-8337
Lee Bradley - Joel Christian - Andy Corren - Henry Dittman
Lori Funk - Danielle James - Crystal Keith - Liesel Kopp
Nathan Kornelis -
Michael Lanahan - Ashley West Leonard
Yuri Lowenthal - David LM Mcintyre - Lisa Anne Nicolai
Tara Platt - Mark Schrier - Jacob Sidney
Ruth Silveira -
Amir Talai - John Wuchte
Produced by Crystal
Associate Producers -
David Grammer, Laura Esposito and Bruno Oliver
Assistant Directors - Jessie Marion and Denise Barnard
Set Design - Aaron Francis
Lighting Design - John Sylvain
Sound Design - Jason Tuttle
Composer/Music Coordinator - Brenda Varda
Costume Designer - Laura Esposito
Assistant Costume Designer - Julie A. Lockhart
Costume and Curtain Crew -
Meredith Anne Patt, Aldrich Allen, Mary Hayes, Sondra
Mayer, Lisa Grant, John Altieri, Shirley Anderson, Tina Kronis,
Majken Larsson, Kara S. Leigh, J. Ryan Stradal
Carpenters - David Holcomb and Rik Keller
Pulchinella Masks - Richard Gustafson
Props Posse -
Richard Gustafson, Sondra Meyer, Angela Marie Rubino, Dani Barkat
Commedia Choreography - Sean Kinney
Stage Manager - Frank Stasio
Light Board Operator - Nick Aguayo
Sound Board Operator - Corey Klemow
Alvarez's Blood Rig - Joe Seely
Original Artwork - Dani Barkat
Graphics Layout Design - Chris Hutchings and Brad Friedman
WEEKLY - Pick of the
Aaron Francis’ marvelously
whimsical production of Clive Barker’s phantasmagoric chronicle of
self-discovery showcases the horror movie–meister’s (Candyman,
Hellraiser) macabre sense of humor. Drawing from Euro pean folktales,
Barker traces the exploits of the hapless Til Eulenspeigel, a.k.a.
Crazyface (Mark Schrier), a nomadic 16th-century fool for whom trouble, in
the person of an unseemly and unseen Angel (Henry Dittman), is a constant
companion. When a Spanish spy (Dittman) entrusts Til with a mysterious and
priceless substance from the New World, other European agents (the
hilariously buffoonish Joel Christian, Amir Talai and John Wuchte), as
well as Til’s own estranged and homicidal brother Lenny (the grotesquely
clown-faced David Mc Intyre), try to wheedle Til out of the secret stuff.
Inspired comedic standouts include Jacob Sidney as a nefarious Spanish
cleric, Ashley West Leonard as Til’s opportu nistic sister-in-law and
Dittman as the rude Angel. With director Francis’ nimble staging of the
large and gifted ensemble, Barker’s somewhat long commedia dell’arte–inspired
fable — replete with outlandish characters, masks and antics —
succeeds on numerous levels, from adult fairy tale to a crafty political
satire, but mostly it affirms the desire to follow one’s dreams.
Barker fans are legion. But those who have carefully shunned Barker's
typical gore-fests, both cinematic and literary, might be happily
surprised by Barker's "Crazyface," now receiving its West Coast
premiere at the Sacred Fools Theater.
Not that the play doesn't feature its share of the outré, including a
sadistic angel and a trio of commedia-inspired clowns inflicting tortures
on those who have fallen afoul of church and crown. However, Aaron
Francis, who directed and designed this ambitious and impressively
realized production, wisely emphasizes the play's mordant humor, keeping
its sanguinary elements to a minimum.
A familiar character from European folklore (and the merry prankster who
inspired Richard Strauss' famous tone poem), Til Eulenspiegel, otherwise
known as Crazyface, is the engaging simpleton around whom Barker's
convoluted plot revolves. Til, played with puckish intensity by Mark
Schrier, is a ragtag itinerant who roams Europe with his mother and three
sisters-in-law--a Brechtian procession reminiscent of "Mother
Courage." Unseen by the others, Til's constant companion is a
hectoring Angel (Henry Dittman). The Angel, Don Rickles with wings,
needles Til into injudicious outbursts that make the witch-hunting
peasants very nervous.
Denounced as a madman and under sentence of death, Til flees for his life
with his sister-in-law Annie (Tara Platt) in tow. Annie soon joins a band
of fierce female brigands and goes off to complete the circuit of her
implausible destiny. Meanwhile, Til, ever the victim of chance and
circumstance, receives a mysterious box from a dying Spanish spy that
contains a substance so rare and precious that the monarchs of Europe are
willing to fight to the death over it.
Warfare, famine and intrigue soon rage, with Til at the center of the
apocalyptic vortex. Barker's dystopian romp encompasses a Cain and Abel
conflict, the Machiavellian connivings of an evil Inquisitor, and plenty
of slapstick, including a comical interlude with a snorting family of pig
Chock-full of sly topical references (the mysterious box as a metaphor for
nuclear capability, the Inquisitor as exponent of religious
fundamentalism), Barker's imaginative but untrammeled parable is
unfortunately long-winded. However, Francis and company rise to the
challenge of their material with aplomb.
Schrier, the standout of the evening, spearheads a large and gifted cast.
Also noteworthy: John Sylvain's lighting, Laura Esposito's costumes,
Brenda Varda's original score, Jason Tuttle's sound and Richard
Gustafson's masks and props--essential to this vivid, richly disorienting
-- F. Kathleen Foley