Welcome to Sacred Fools Theater Company, est. 1997
               

JAN 15 - FEB 20, 2010
Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm

Swing Performance: Thurs, Jan. 28 @ 8pm
Preview: Thurs, Jan. 14 @ 8pm

Tickets: $20 (Preview: $10)
Call (310) 281-8337 or Buy Tickets Online

Take a hallucinatory slide on the downward spiral of drunken, dissolute poet, Baal. At once genius and madman, Baal will seductively lift you up and decadently drag you down into his journey of excessive, sensual experience. Sacred Fools has joined forces with award winning film/TV/viral director Ben Rock (Warner Bros.’ Alien Raiders, The Burkittsville 7, Shadow of the Blair Witch, True Blood, The 4400) to bring you Brecht’s poetic play, in a fierce new translation by esteemed playwright Peter Mellencamp, complete with onstage film installments and an original, urban-eclectic score by composer Kays Alatrakchi.

Named as one of L.A. Weekly head critic Steven Leigh Morris' "Favorite Things" in L.A. Theater for 2010!  [ Read More ]

L.A. WEEKLY AWARD NOMINATED!
Gregory Sims - Leading Male Performance

CAST - Jaime Andrews*, Jay Bogdanowitsch*,
Donal Thoms-Cappello*, Marcus McGee,
Paul Plunkett, Alyssa Preston, Marz Richards,
Megan Rosati, Andrea Walker*, Alexis Wolfe
and Gregory Sims* as BAAL

SWINGS - Mark Elias, Jennifer Fenten*, RJ Farrington* & Ron Keck

* Member of Actors' Equity Association, The Union of
Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Baal trailer features Gregory Sims and Jay Bogdanowitsch

Director
Translation
Assistant Director
Music Composer
Fight Choreographer
Lighting Designer
Costume Designer
Set Designers
Multimedia Director
Prop Master
Stage Manager
ASM
Graphic Design

Music Recorded by







Producers

Ben Rock
Peter Mellencamp
Monica Greene
Kays Alatrakchi
Sondra Mayer
John Sylvain
Kevin Ackerman
Jennifer Fulmer & David Knutson
Zubi Mohammed
Matt Valle
Suze Campagna
Noel Balacuit
Andrew Bargeron


Elif Savas Felsen
Fureya Unal
Maia Jasper
Laszlo Mezo
Jonathan Marzluf
Viginia Costa Figueiredo

Jaime Andrews
Kimberly Atkinson
Monica Greene
Sondra Mayer

Baal thanks DREAD CENTRAL and
BLOODY DISGUSTING for the blurbs!

REVIEWS

L.A. Weekly (GO!)

Capsule Review: Peter Mellencamp's adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's early, poetical drama is about the cruelty and demise of a Bacchanalian poet who recognizes, curses and is cursed by civilization's thin veneer. Ben Rock's staging is sometimes forced, more often intense and seductive, with Gregory Sims' growling title character bearing a physical resemblance to young Al Pacino, but with a voice like Tom Waits.  See Feature Article.

Animals! Camelot and Baal

Violent, debasing animal impulses drive the title character of Bertolt Brecht's first full-length play, Baal, written in 1918. Based on a god referred to in the Old Testament, via texts from northern Syria, Ba'al was the storm god, like the Greek Poseidon. Delivering water to parched lands, Baal also became a god of fertility, and the play delves the psychology of his sexual impulses, and how they crash into the thin veneer of civilization (not unlike Guenevere goading her knights to kill Lancelot from some combination of sadism and lust).

In director Ben Rock's sensual and visceral staging of Peter Mellencamp's profane, poetical adaptation, now playing at Sacred Fools Theatre Company, Gregory Sims performs the title character with the primal seductiveness of the young Al Pacino, growling through the play, as though he's borrowed Tom Waits' voice.

Jennifer Fulmer's set design consists of rolling platforms forged into circles and triangular shards. As in Camelot, a moon hangs suspended. Here, though, the moon is encircled by layers of those spearlike triangles. And though they're static, these appendages are positioned as if they've been caught in some kind of swirling orbit. Announcer Andrea Walker introduces scenes from video monitors that snap and crackle.

Baal spends considerable time ruminating on sundry hypocrisies of civilization. He mocks a literary critic (Paul Plunkett), and he deflowers the girlfriend (Megan Rosati) of his gentlest and most earnest admirer (Marcus McGee). He does all this while licking his lips. Remorse? He's an animal. Debasement is his theology.

Baal may be the inverse of King Arthur, which makes him a far more dynamic protagonist. Arthur's attempted journey is into the higher reaches of idealism. Baal's is into the mud, where men belong, where they will rest. And there's little more compelling than watching base cruelty such as his somehow tethered to a force of nature. Brecht, too, knew that civilization is fleeting — civility even more so. His view is not so different from that of Camelot, even if he tells his story from the other side of the looking glass.

Rock's production is sometimes labored as Baal's downward trajectory — which involves the jealousy of his friend/lover, Ekhart (Donal Thomas-Capello) — becomes more than evident. These are truth-seekers spiraling into the mud. Yet the production's sensuality matches its sincerity. The ensemble is terrific, with particularly nice cameo performances by Jaime Andrews, Jay Bogdanowitsch, Alyssa Preston and Alexis Wolfe.

Read the Full Article

--Steven Leigh Morris
© 2010 L.A. Weekly
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BackStage (CRITIC'S PICK!)

In his youth, German poet-playwright Bertolt Brecht was fascinated by the Semitic/Phoenician/Babylonian deity Baal: god of fertility and sexual excess. In this play, Brecht took the name Baal for his anti-hero: a poet-singer for whom nothing is sacred. Baal (Gregory Sims) is a sex magnet, a sexual predator, and a fierce iconoclast, who respects nothing he can't experience in his own flesh. He routinely seduces his friends' wives and girlfriends, and sneers at success and ambition. When his naive friend Joe (Marcus McGee) introduces his prim, virginal, 17-year-old girlfriend, Johanna (Megan Rosati), the poet immediately seduces her away from him.

Subsequently, the traumatized girl drowns herself in the river, but Baal seems to have no conscience pangs, though he's haunted by the image of her body floating out to the sea. Later he takes up with Sophie (Alexis Wolfe), whom he seems to love, but he abandons her when she becomes pregnant. When the women who pursue him are no longer enough to feed his insatiable lust for experience, Baal transfers his love to his male comrade Ekhart (Donal Thoms-Cappello), and the two embark on a reckless vagabond life.

Though the play was written in 1918, its hero seems remarkably modern, particularly in this colloquial, free translation by Peter Mellencamp. Director Ben Rock gives the piece a bold but faithful production, finely assisted by his leading man. Sims offers a wonderfully rich, volatile performance as the Dionysian Baal, touching all his contradictory bases: poet, beast, child, and monster. Sims also wields enough charisma and animal magnetism to make Baal's sexual prowess credible. (Audible responses from the women in the audience testify to the potency of his ruthlessness and charm.) He receives admirable support from Rosati, Wolfe, and Jaime Andrews as the women in Baal's life. And a versatile quartet of character actors—Jay Bogdanowitsch, Alyssa Preston, Paul Plunkett, and Marz Richards—play multiple roles as the colorful lowlifes, bums, sycophants, and antagonists Baal encounters. Designers Jennifer Fulmer and David Knutson provide the handsome, flexible set, and Kevin Ackerman supplies the appropriately chic or seedy costumes.

Brecht's play is provocative and less pedantic than his later work. It's hard to pin down its precise meaning, but that's as it should be. As one of the characters observes, "Stories that we understand are just badly told."

--Neal Weaver
© 2010 BackStage
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Dread Central

Last weekend Dread Central decided to get a bit of culture and headed over to Sacred Fools Theater to check out film/TV/viral director Ben Rock's (Alien Raiders) intense new project, Baal.

Based on the 1918 story by Bertolt Brecht, Baal is the trippy little story about a destructive and alcoholic poet named Baal (played by Gregory Sims) who destroys anything and anyone in his path. Baal has no issue with seducing friends' wives and girlfriends, deflowering young teenage girls, and drinking himself into a stupor on a regular basis. The world is for Baal's taking, no matter what the cost.

While not necessarily horror, the ramifications of Baal's downward spiral into excess are quite horrific as he manages to leave a body count in his wake. The reinterpretation of Brecht's story by Peter Mellencamp is bold, startling, and devastating. When the play finishes, you can sense the uneasiness in the audience as they file out - and it's not because they didn't like the play. You just feel the devastation that Baal inflicted on those around him to your very core.

Sims' portrayal of Baal is both seductive and horrifying. Picture what would happen if Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum in The Fly), Jon Stewart, and Hunter S. Thompson had a love child and unleashed him on the stage.

After the performance we had a chance to talk with both Rock and Sims about all things Baal. You can check out the video below.

Baal will continue to run at Sacred Fools through February 20th. If you live in the LA area, this is definitely one performance you won't want to miss.

SEE A VIDEO INTERVIEW ABOVE, UNDER "EXTRAS"!

--Heather Wixson, "The Horror Chick"
© 2010 Dread Central
[ Buy Tickets Now! ]