"...delicate bits of poetry and weird, delightful humor!" – L.A. Weekly

"Playwright Padraic Duffy's ideas seem boundless, and they show originality and a playful sense of language. His mixture of tones – childlike wonder with freakish sexuality, cerebral purity with earthy humor – make Duffy's voice unique." – BackStage West

from the author of Feet and The Mechanical Rabbit
the director of
Feet and Dracula: A Musical Nightmare

Tell the bees.
a world premiere play
by padraic duffy
directed by jessie marion

on the mainstage...
january 29 - march 7,
opening thursday, january 29 @ 8pm
then running friday - saturday @ 8pm & sundays @ 7pm
MATINEE - sunday, february 29 @ 2pm
(there will be no 7pm show that day)

tickets - $15
reservations - 310 281 8337
or purchase tickets online!
Click here to guarantee your tickets online!


special discount packages!
more details!

"Tell the bees." STORE!
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Read other plays
by Padraic Duffy!

script books!

assistant directed by joe jordan
produced by padraic duffy, ruth silveira & meredith anne patt
stage managed by eric werner
choreography by evita arce
costume design by elizabeth barnes keener
set & light design by jeff robinson
sound design by jason tuttle
props by aaron francis
sculpture by sam hale
graphic design by renée french
frass... dean cameron
big girls... julie mullen, jennifer ann wilson
chad... jacob sidney
pippi... iris bahr
becky... stephanie dees
mary... crystal keith
moira... vanessa claire smith
mike sweeney... philip wofford
beekeeper... jessica hanna
clamshucker... alicia wollerton
sailor #1... joe hernandez-kolski
sailor #2... karl maschek
sailor #3... conor duffy
maple syrup man... david lm mcintyre
lil' mushroom... martha marion




Backstage West

The first part of any writing project is coming up with ideas and transferring those ideas to the page. The second part is organizing and cutting those ideas into the best possible size and shape. Playwright Padraic Duffy's ideas seem boundless, and they show originality and a playful sense of language. His mixture of tones--childlike wonder with freakish sexuality, cerebral purity with earthy humor--make Duffy's voice unique. What now needs honing is his ability to take a scalpel to his own work and carve away material. 

The problems become apparent within the first scene of this nearly two-and-a-half-hour evening. Repetition of lines and information becomes too noticeable. Eventually so do duplications of character types and character traits. The protagonist, Frass (the word is defined for us as material left at the base of a plant by a boring animal), appears to be a prisoner, garbed in striped pajamas. But is Frass (Dean Cameron) also a prisoner of his own mind? He is visited at the prison window by two Big Girls (Julie Mullen and Jennifer Ann Wilson)--referred to as fat but instead heavily padded in their busts and rumps. The evil warden, Chad (Jacob Sidney), tells Frass to escape, so Frass places his "mind" into a wire sculpture of a head and travels to strange worlds, where the girls and Chad follow.

Frass meets up with two pairs of preteen sisters, each of whom is attracted to an off-kilter man. One pair comprises Pippi (Iris Bahr) and Becky (Stephanie Dees), who live alone in a house made of sugar. Their mother, the Clamshucker (Alicia Wollerton), wanders the seashore, unable to work because of a drought. Pippi is a bold explorer who falls for one (Conor Duffy) of a trio of sailors; Becky naively worships Frass. The other sisters are the sweet Mary (Crystal Keith), who hankers after Frass, and the raucous Moira (Vanessa Claire Smith), who pines for Mike Sweeney (Philip Wofford); he never speaks, but his bloody chin oozes from taking a bite of the sugar house. Moira and Mary's mother is the Beekeeper (Jessica Hanna), who suggests that Frass tell the bees his secrets. Another advisor to Frass is the Maple Syrup Man (David LM McIntyre), apparently Pippi's and Becky's dead father. The other two sailors (Joe Hernandez-Kolski and Karl Maschek) flip for the Big Girls, engaging in the production's big-band dance numbers. After having watched a film loop about wild mushrooms, Frass grows Li'l Mushroom (Martha Marion), whom he leads by a rope, eventually releasing her to the Clamshucker.

With these many characters and subplots, the star of this production is the sound design, by Jason Tuttle, which makes the audience feel as if we're inside a beehive, a rainstorm, and a dank prison cell. In addition, director Jessie Marion enhances the whimsy and keeps the mayhem quite tidy, helping form the script into a cohesive--but still overly long--whole. 

-- Dany Margolies
©2004 Backstage West

L.A. Weekly

Crafting a substantial tale within the hazy parameters of the fantastic requires discipline — particularly when your setting is that lawless territory inside an artist-hero’s brain. Unfortunately, Padraic Duffy’s often intriguing fantasy falters under the challenge, giving way to sprawl and self-indulgence. Crowded with characters that never fully materialize, delicate bits of poetry and weird, delightful humor, and layers of metaphor that never coalesce, the piece gives an overwhelming impression of being unfinished — frustrating given the talents invested in director Jessie Marion’s production. The play opens on Frass (Dean Cameron), an incarcerated artist struggling to complete a wire sculpture of his own head. Tempted to freedom by two lascivious “big girls” who speak in unison, Frass escapes through his sculpture into a world of odd, love-starved children. The meandering two-and-a-half hour journey that follows is made bearable by a fine ensemble. Marion succeeds best with the comic performances. Cameron has hilarious moments as Frass, though the character needs development. Julie Mullen and Jennifer Ann Wilson are flawless as the big girls (fabulously augmented and swathed in polka dots by costume designer Elizabeth Barnes Keener). Other notables include Jacob Sidney, Iris Bahr, Conor Duffy, Alicia Wollerton and Vanessa Claire Smith. Jeff Robinson provides a gorgeous, malleable set and inspired lighting.

-- Anne Kelly-Saxenmeyer
©2004 L.A. Weekly