SACRED FOOLS | MAINSTAGE 2006 - POONA THE FUCKDOG and other plays for children


"GO... a bawdy, comedic romp!" -L.A. Weekly

"...pure fun... I recommend spending an evening with Poona
if you want to walk out of the theatre with a smile on your face
and a cookie in your hand."

"...a crackerjack ensemble!" -BackStage West

"...puts the tail back into fairy tales!" -LAist

Read the full reviews...




These outrageous "Fairy tales for Grown-ups" are not for the easily offended! Poona, our ingenuous heroine, meets up with aliens, talking shrubs, and mealy-mouthed salesmen in her quest to find someone to play in her big pink box. Nothing is sacred in this raucous assault on the power of language.

by Jeff Goode
(author of "The Reindeer Monologues")

directed by Adam Bitterman

APRIL 14 - MAY 27, 2006
Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm /Sundays @ 7pm
(No performance the weekend of May 5-7)

Pay-What-You-Can PREVIEW!
Thursday, April 13 @ 8pm

Tickets: $15
Reservations: (310) 281-8337
or Buy Tickets Online!



by cast member Ruth Silveira

I'm in a show that audiences enjoy, that's received a "GO" review from L.A. Weekly, but that causes, at first mention, a raised eyebrow, wary reaction in many people...

This play is more about ideas than any activity that might be suggested by the title. And ideas about lots of things-- social issues, word usage, God, TV, and more. Besides the characters mentioned above, there's also a handsome prince, a rabbit, a frog, an insidiously seductive computer, and more. Plus some fun songs.  [READ MORE]

What critics around the country have said about
past productions of POONA THE FUCKDOG:
"Irresistible... The playwright, Jeff Goode, uses the technique of children's stories to send up children's stories, advertising, politics, religion, runaway capitalism, television, the Internet, the news media, and a lot more, including waiters in New York restaurants."-The New York Times
"Goode is in equal parts funny, angry, imaginative, crude,
and hopelessly over the top." -Chicago Tribune
"Poona the Fuck Dog is two hours of theatrical magic
that will go down in infamy." -Seattle Stranger
"Poona pulls out all the stops... 'A Morality Play for Adult Children' is not for the easily offended. But if you like satirical social commentary that never pulls punches, you'll enjoy the refreshing scamper Jeff Goode takes through modern-day mores and social customs... It is simply irreverent." -Las Vegas Review Journal
More Past Reviews... Reviews of our Production
Kimberly Atkinson, Philip Bak, Brandon Clark,
Andy Corren, Clara Couturier, Matthew Garland,
Brendan Hunt, Eric Curtis Johnson, Joe Jordan,
Michael Lanahan, Philip Newby, Bruno Oliver, 
Jordan Savage, Ruth Silveira & Laura Sperrazza
Rebecca Larsen, Jim Nieb & Jaime Robledo
Postcard Design: Craig Taylor & Ryan Turek
Featuring  "Jessica" as Poona by Jay Naylor
Copyright 2005
Produced by Jenelle Riley, Brandon Clark & Joe Jordan
Stage Manager - Hans Gelpke
Assistant Director - Joe Jordan
Choreographer - Jaime Robledo
Video Production - Ben Rock
Lighting Design - David Sousa
Sound Design - Mark McClain Wilson
Costume Design - Lisa-Anne Nicolai, Rebecca Crown & Brandon Clark
Musical Director - Matthew Garland
Props - C.M. Gonzalez
Set Design - Carlos Fedos
Photography - Haven Hartman



The Brothers Grimm Never Had It So Good

Welcome to the magical kingdom of Do, where no one does - a magical land that bears some resemblance to America and some to South Park, Colorado. A talking television, a little girl who learns to kill people over the Internet, a giant foam penis and a dismembered rabbit are among the residents of this double-edged land. Their stories are sewn together through the life of Poona the Fuckdog, the play's heroine, and narrated out of a big book of fables. Now at Sacred Fools through May 27, Jeff Goode's play, the fortunately titled POONA THE FUCKDOG AND OTHER TALES FOR CHILDREN, puts the tail back in fairy tales.

Adam Bitterman directs a strong ensemble cast through a series of loosely linked tales. Poona the Fuckdog (a polite and demure Jordan Savage) wants people to play with her, but no one will be her friend. Lo and behold, the Handsome Prince (Michael Lanahan) takes an interest in her when she invites him to play in her Big Pink Box, accompanied by the sounds of a dying blender. From the power of the pink box it's a short step to running the kingdom of Do, a football scholarship, the Heisman trophy, a career-ending knee injury and degradation in drunkenness and advertising.

POONA tells the story of failed celebrity, but along the way it skewers some other American archetypes, from salesmen to television to the actual conventions of theater. At one point, when The Man Who Could Sell Anything (Eric Curtis Johnson) is trying to sell the audience a Poona The Fuckdog T-shirt, while winking his eye about how bad it is to always want to buy things, one of the cast members steps up and offers to buy one. The way that this undercuts his heavy-handed point about consumerism is one of the funniest moments in the play.

"But I want a T-shirt. I'm in the show. Why can't I have a T-shirt?"

As usual, Sacred Fools's strength is in their actors. While we would have preferred it if Jordan Savage's Poona was less adorable and more deplorable, we were in love with Bruno Oliver as a talking shrubbery (reminiscent of Monty Python, Bush, and Inside The Actor's Studio all at once) and Laura Sperrazza's Suzy-Suzy, an infantile Internet murderer. The play is entirely stolen by Philip Newby as the rabbit who loves Poona despite her early betrayal. And Eric Curtis Johnson channels the best of the 50s as The Man Who Could Sell Anything. 

The set, by Carlos Fedos, is minimally built out of green shrubs and a big pink box. Mark McClain Wilson's sound design is delightful and irreverent, especially when Poona gets into the box, but we wanted more of it. The actors are left quiet during too many transitions. David Sousa's lighting effectively darkens as the piece does - we particularly liked Poona trapped in a spotlight waiting for the narrator to rescue her - but we wanted more changes earlier. In general, the rapid-fire switching of scenes and action was insufficiently supported by the production design, which seemed staid. Brandon Clark, Rebecca Crown and Lisa-Anne Nicolai's costumes were lovely, especially the armless aliens and the TV set. 

Perhaps the most politically charged gesture in this piece is the way that Poona keeps repeating "Hi, I'm Poona. Poona the Fuckdog!" with an inane smile on her face. If such a cute puppy can say something so ribald without any embarassment, then how hard is it for our nation's leader to assert that he really believed Iraq was hiding WMDs somewhere in the basement? The kingdom of Do is a land where everyone has to keep a straight face, even when the emperor goes tripping out by the Washington Monument, naked as the day he was born. Smile for the cameras, Poona.

-- Dara Weinberg
©2006 LAist

POONA THE FUCKDOG and other plays for children (sic) is a highly enjoyable romp through several story lines woven together to create a couple of hours of pure fun. Poona, a cute little pooch played by cute little Jordan Savage, is fond of playing a game that has a lot to do with her name, in her big pink box, mostly with her handsome prince (Michael Lanahan). Guided by her singing, guitar-playing fairy God-Phallus (Matthew Garland), Poona encounters a wild array of characters as she commences to live a full and varied life, all with their own story lines out of the crazy head of writer Jeff Goode, best known for his MTV series UNDRESSED. 

There’s Jasper and Cunt (Brendan Hunt and Andy Corren respectively), two hilarious pun inducing aliens who’ve landed on earth and are in search of a leader. Shrub (Bruno Oliver) is a Shakespeare quoting plant who’s in search of better stage positioning. He manages not to get peed on. Philip Newby doubles as a talking rabbit and an angel named Gabby who serves a sarcastic God (Ruth Silveira). 

Four-year-old Suzy-Suzy (Laura Sperrazza) learns how to destroy people from her talking toy computer (Kimberly Atkinson) in the piece’s sharpest vignette… and more. 

This all takes place in and around the Kingdom of Doo (get it?). There is a quick battle, nuclear war, action in heaven, and a talking television set (Atkinson again) who ends up being the King of Doo. The cast numbers fourteen in all, handling over twenty seven parts. Most of the actors play two and three characters, with most effective costume changes compliments of designers Rebecca Crown and Brandon Clark. 

Director Adam Bitterman must be complimented for his staging, which always had me sitting up in my seat like a good dog-errrr audience member in anticipation. 

The entire production meshes nicely as the vignettes send up myths about sex, politics, sports, government, consumerism, theology, computers, and television. The set, by Carlos Fedos, is simple and responsive to Bitterman’s needs. The audience guffawed a countless number of times at the shenanigans.

I recommend spending an evening with Poona if you want to walk out of the theatre with a smile on your face and a cookie in your hand. (they’re given out at the end of the show). THREE 1/2 AXELS.

-- Robert Axelrod

L.A. Weekly (GO!)

This latest offering from Sacred Fools is a bawdy, comedic romp through “the land of allegory and myth.” Jeff Goode’s play features a series of vignettes that are loosely tied together by Poona (Jordan Savage), a lonely canine who, in her search for “somebody to play with,” ends up serving as a sports hero, a spokesperson and, as her name suggests, an object of lust. Amid the sexcapades between Poona and The Handsome Prince (Michael Lanahan) are the storylines of the numerous other characters that populate this fantasy universe, including a talking shrub (Bruno Oliver), The Man Who Could Sell Anything (Eric Curtis Johnson) and a pair of aliens (Brendan Hunt and Andy Corren). While the play attempts to satirize a number of our political and social institutions, the numerous storylines and sidebars often get in the way. One of the highlights of the show is a chilling interaction between a child prodigy (Laura Sperrazza) and her Hal 9000-esque computer (Kimberly Atkinson) that seduces her into virtual-reality violence. Carlos Fedos’ set design evokes elementary school pageants of our youth while Adam Bitterman’s direction is efficient but not inspired. Sperrazza, Oliver, Philip Newby and Ruth Silveira deliver notable performances.

-- Mayank Keshaviah
L.A. Weekly

BackStage West

Pity poor Poona (Jordan Savage), a pup who had no friends until a visit from her Fairy God-Phallus (Matthew Garland) thrusts her into puberty, after which she discovers that while the Handsome Prince (Michael Lanahan) loves to visit and play games in her pretty pink box, he really has little interest in her once he's outside the box, as it were. This is the starting point of Jeff Goode's discursive script, which is embellished by a great many more stories. While hewing to the conventions of children's theatre-such as unstable, cartoonlike sets (Carlos Fedos); bright, fun costumes (Brandon Clark, Rebecca Crown, and Lisa-Anne Nicolai); and overscaled performance styles (Adam Bitterman at the helm)-it is not for children.

Moments in the piece are inspired; but on the whole, it's a bit overstuffed and includes too many awkward transitions between scenes for the production to have any sense of flow. It's almost a variety show, punctuated by the repeated opening, which finds Poona a little further down life's trail with each iteration. As the eponymous hound, Savage is a fresh presence, spunky in the face of the unspeakable, and she performs with a crackerjack ensemble. The droll Philip Newby is a master of the pathetic and turns in an unforgettable performance as a dismembered bunny, among other things. Kimberly Atkinson has two delightful turns as electronic items, and the casual indifference of her presence as a computer voice seducing the overachieving tot Suzy-Suzy (a pert and perfect Laura Sperrazza) into video violence and more is brilliantly unsettling. Ruth Silveira plays a lovely and benign God in addition to a knife-wielding storyteller, and Eric Curtis Johnson nabs the title King of Smarm with his portrayal of The Man Who Could Sell Anything. One of the more welcome running jokes is when Brendan Hunt and Andy Corren appear as quirky little aliens that look like ambulatory tea bags. This generally causes distress as, in a wry little observation on language, they consider the word "that" to be offensive while at the same time one of them is named…um, well, gosh, maybe you should just go find out for yourself.

-- Wenzel Jones
BackStage West