SACRED FOOLS | MAINSTAGE 1999 - William Gibson's BURNING CHROME

Congratulations to Stan Freitag & Darrin W. Jaques!
For their "Special Commendation for Props"!
1999 LA Weekly Theater Awards

4 1999 LA Weekly Award Nominations!
Direction, Scott Rabinowitz
Production Design
Lighting Design, Aaron Francis & Norman Gilmore
Special Commendation for Props, Stan Freitag & Darrin W. Jaques

2 Backstage West Garland Awards 1999
(Honorable Mentions)

Adaptation, Steve Pickering and Charley Sherman
Lighting Design,
Aaron Francis & Norman Gilmore

William Gibson's
BURNING CHROME

Photos

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September 16 - October 16, 1999

Cast

Production Staff

Adam Bitterman

as

Automatic Jack

David Holcomb

as

Bobby Quine

Piper Henry as Rikki Wildside
Patrick Towne as The Finn
Tenny Priebe as Chrome
Jeff Goldman as Miles
Teresa Castracane  as Tiger
Joel Christian as Black Myron
Lisette Bross as Snag
Jennifer Barrick as Crow Jane
Martin Yu as   One of the Boys
Al Vicente as One of the Boys
Jessie S. Marion as One of the Girls
Jennifer Wu as One of the Girls

and Desi Doyen as
Tally Isham
The Girl with the Zeiss Ikon Eyes


Cast Headshots

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Written by William Ford Gibson
Directed by Scott Rabinowitz
Adapted by Steve Pickering & Charley Sherman
Produced by Bil Garrity & Adam Bitterman
Assistant Director - Benjamin B. Davis
Set / Light Design by Aaron Francis
FX Lighting Software Design by Norman Gilmore
Sound Design by J Warner
Costume Design by Mary Hayes
Costume Renderings by Jennifer Kazara
Prop Design & Technology consultants - 
Stan Freitag & Darrin W. Jaques
Stage Manager - Aaron Haedt
Dramaturge - Paul Plunkett
Production Intern - Stephen Miller
Light Board Operator - Gerald McClanahan
Special Effects Light Board - Aaron Haedt
Sound Operator - Pogo Saito

Poster Art by Stacy Lauren/LaurenDesign
Publicity by Philip Sokoloff
Program / Zeiss Ikon art by Jennifer Wu
Jack's Arm designed and built by Amon Schutt

Poster Art by Stacy Lauren/LaurenDesign
Publicity by Philip Sokoloff
Program / Zeiss Ikon art by Jennifer Wu
Jack's Arm designed and built by Amon Schutt

 

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The Cast & Crew
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Front Row  (l to r) - David Holcomb, Joel Christian, Scott Rabinowitz, Tenny Priebe
Middle Row (l to r) - Jeff Goldman, Lisette Bross, Mary Hayes, Jessie Marion, Jennifer Wu, Piper Henry,
Patrick Towne, Adam Bitterman, Teresa Castracane
Back Row (l to r) - Bil Garrity, Darrin Jaques, Al Vicente, Martin Yu, Gerald McClanahan
Not Pictured: Jennifer Barrick

A few candid shots before the show...

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Rikki (Piper Henry) & Snag (Lisette Bross)

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Automatic Jack (Adam Bitterman) & Rikki

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Jessie Marion warms up

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Jack in the Loft

A couple shots of the Set...

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The Matrix Simulator

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A crowded Loft...

The World of Tally Isham

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In this first draft, "Ikon"is misspelled...ooops

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Here are some production shots
IN COLOR
(click 2 enlarge)

"The CHROME Job...
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...it started one weekend last summer, I went up North to check out the market.  I knew a fence up there, called himself The Finn..."

"BOBBY was a Cowboy...
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...a security code breaker, a cracksman; and I.C.E. was the name of his game."

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"Bobby had this thing for new girls..."


"RIKKI 'WILDSIDE'
  
Bobby called her...

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...the wild card...the luck changer..."

 

"...An old grunt buddy of mine named MILES
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...left a couple of pieces of himself over in Stalingrad..."

"Some things are worse than being alone...
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"...but what they sell at
THE HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS

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...its so popular...its almost legal"

 

"I see her sometimes when I'm awake, sometimes when I'm trying to sleep...
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...and its like she's a hologram stuck behind my eyes."

 

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Aaron Francis
Co-Set / Co-Lighting Design

Scott Rabinowitz
Director / Co-Set Design

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one more of the cast

 

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LA WEEKLY
*RECOMMENDED

Sexy cyberpunkettes, a Philip Marlowe–ish narrator and lots of cool technojunk are the real draw of Steve Pickering and Charley Sherman’s adaptation of William Gibson’s sci-fi short story, set in "the Sprawl." It seems a place not much different from lowlife L.A., really, but with a better soundtrack (by J Warner), imaginative futuristic costumes (Mary Hayes) and a killer lighting design (by Aaron Francis, lighting software by Norman Gilmore). "There are a million naked stories in the Sprawl," the narrator (Patrick Towne) says as he squints through cigarette smoke, thus setting the tone for director Scott Rabinowitz’s comic-bookish rendering of one of the oldest naked stories in the world: two guys involved with the same girl. Rikki (Piper Henry) seems to have popped in from cyber-Hee-Haw; still, her too-big character matches the proceedings, which focus on computer-"cowboy" partners — daring, handsome Bobby (David Holcomb) and a love-struck sad sack named Automatic Jack (Adam Bitterman) — as they try to outsmart the underworld’s evil Chrome. But mostly this is a romance tricked out with terrific gadgets (props by Stan Freitag and Darrin W. Jaques). The miscast Bitterman plays this cybersilliness seriously and stolidly — which is problematic, since he’s the star. Still, there’s plenty to get your cyber-rocks off on.

- Constance Monaghan
1999 LA WEEKLY

BACKSTAGE WEST

As much as I loathed every nanosecond spent in front of The Matrix (indulging a visiting teenage nephew, if you must know), it turned out to be valuable groundwork for grasping this no-budget show, which best exemplifies the raffish charm for which the Sacred Fools is becoming noted. Steve Pickering and Charley Sherman have adapted William Gibson's cyber-noir story of love and chicanery (two men, one girl, and then a whole lot of money get liberated) into a surprisingly endearing piece of theatre.

As wonderful as designer Aaron Francis' dyspeptic vision of the future is (like today, but junkier, and with fabulous lighting), it's Adam Bitterman in the role of the hardened yet not hopeless romantic Automatic Jack who carries the show. He's gruff yet honest while dealing with the reality that the affections of the tempestuous Rikki (Piper Henry, who grows on you in spite of her listen-to-mah-ayccent accent) will probably fall to his arrogant young friend, Bobby Quinne (the vibrant David Holcomb).

Rikki wants to be a SimStim actress (and here I must urge you to read the glossary in your program before the show), so she's just passing through, and, anyway, the boys are operating in a milieu where dames are set pieces, so the real story is how the two of them are going to relieve the criminally rich Chrome (a striking if non-speaking Tenny Priebe) of much of her ill-gotten gains. There is a deliciously jaded bartender thrown into the mix, of course, and he is played with great humor by Jeff Goldman. The background actors are usually quite complementary to the proceedings, although at times the hey-I've-got-an-inner-dialogue-too approach can be a bit distracting.


Mary Hayes displays great imagination with her costumes and never forgets that, whenever possible, the cantilevered breast is best. Her creations are matched by the inventive props of Stan Freitag and Darrin W. Jaques (although I think some money may have been spent here). Director Scott Rabinowitz keeps the show moving and never becomes so enamored of the techno-babble that he slows it down so we can absorb it; he knows as well as we do that it doesn't really matter. I appreciate that.

- Wenzel Jones
1999 BACKSTAGE WEST

ACCESSIBLY LIVE

BURNING CHROME, the William Gibson short story of love in the near future, opened at the Sacred Fools Theater.
In this world that we all know, or will know, there is Cyberspace; part of the communication grid, where the Internet would be created. Closer within, there is the Matrix; the place where the computer data live. A pair of ‘cowboys’, computer hackers, Automatic Jack (Adam Bitterman) and Bobby Quinne (David Holcomb) plan to hack the wealth of a mob head, Chrome (Tenny Priebe). She is a woman that’s more a part of simulated stimulation, or ‘simstim’, than real reality. These two cowboys are in love with Rikki Wildside (Piper Henry). She has some ideas of her own on with what’s going on in a world that consists of big corporations getting bigger, and virtual reality is reality!!

Gibson’s sci-fi writings, including this adaptation by Steve Pickering and Charley Sherman, has been read and followed for quite a while. (Gibson is accredited to coin the word cyberspace long before it became within the lexicon of the last decade of the 20th century). This version, incredibly directed by Scott Rabinowitz, has a feel of a world that is all mean looking gadgetry, and meaner looking persons living in an element (real or otherwise) that is out of control and within the points of no return. Sci-fi is the only story genre that hasn’t worked well on stage. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as BURNING CHROME holds up! It shows that this sociated ‘world’ is mean, hard and is almost the place where love can exist. In cyberspace, however, there is no love, only players in the matrix.

- Rich Borowy
1999 ACCESSIBLY LIVE


LA TIMES
 

The technically flashy "Burning Chrome" at Sacred Fools gives a futuristic spin to hard-boiled noir, with mixed results.
Based on a story by William Gibson, the celebrated progenitor of cyberpunk, this stage adaptation by Steve Pickering and Charley Sherman preserves Gibson's stylistically experimental, computer-influenced techno-jargon.
And that's a problem. Cyberpunk may be the cutting edge in sci-fi fiction, but the technological double-talk that characterizes the genre doesn't always cut it as theatrical dialogue. Despite impressive technical effects, the visualization of cyberspace remains amorphous.

Unwieldy exposition sets the dystopian scene, a dehumanized society in which computers have supplanted religion as the opiate of the masses. Brilliant "console cowboy" Bobby (David Holcomb) persuades his reluctant partner Automatic Jack (Adam Bitterman) to rip off Chrome (Tenny Priebe), a mobster queen with vast financial holdings and a lethal reputation.

Chrome's cash is hidden deep in the Matrix, a glorified Internet where world commerce, legal and non, is conducted. First, the partners must hack through the "black ice"--the deadly countermeasures--protecting the dough. The scam is complicated when both guys get a yen for Rikki Wildside (Piper Henry), a free spirit who has come to town hoping to star in "simstim"--a virtual reality medium in which the actors replace their eyes with cameras. Although Jack's love for Rikki is true, he's destined to download the blues.

Impelled by driving rock music, Scott Rabinowitz's carefully syncopated staging is meant to be comically overwrought, and succeeds. Aaron Francis' set and lighting design, Mary Hayes' fetish-inspired costumes, and J Warner's sound are wildly inventive, as are Stan Freitag and Darrin W. Jaques' props and Gene Lushtak's original video, which opens the action.

- F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
1999 LA TIMES