SACRED FOOLS | MAINSTAGE 1999 - Naked Holidays
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...and audiences love it

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Naked Holidays

An evening of *original*, holiday themed one-acts...

December 2 - 18, 1999
Thurs-Fri-Sat, 8pm / Sundays, 7pm

Produced by Piper Henry, Joshua Rebell and Shelley Wenk

The Plays (in no particular order)

The Naked Holidays Opening
Written by George Larkin
Directed by Xander Stephano

Holiday Resort
Written by David Rodwin
Directed by Quinn Sullivan

The Christmas Fix
(Based on A JunkieΉs Christmas by William S. Burroughs)
Written by Paul Plunkett
Directed by Pat Towne

Blue X-mas
Written by Joshua Rebell
Directed by David P. Moore
Assistant Director: Cara DiPaolo

Nude, Nude, Nude, Holidays, Holidays, Holidays
Written by John Sylvain
Directed by Sharon MacMenamin
Assistant Director: Blake Williams

Holiday Burn
Written by Donna Tina Charles
Directed by Synthia Learned

Terry Twigstix and the Christmas Lesson
Written by Pogo Saito
Directed by Timbre Henning

Credit Where Credit is Due
Written by Rik Keller
Directed by Aaron Francis

Gabby Anderman • Shirley Anderson • Tina Ballabio • Jennifer Barrick • David Bauman
Bryan Bellomo • Jeff Benninghofen • John Harrington Bland • Jody Booth • Rob Brink
Lisette Bross • P.J. Byrne • Tom Chalmers • Tara-Beth Connolly • Benjamin Davis • Lisa Grant
Babe Marie Hack • Jon Hamm • Timbre Henning • Joe Hernandez-Kolski • Dean Jacobson
Eric C. Johnson • Stephanie Noel Little • Allen Lulu • Sharon MacMenamin • Jessie Marion
Scott McShane • Linda Miller • Noelle Potvin • Ariadne Shaffer • Ruth Silveira • Elizabeth Warner

Set Designer - Katia Kaplun
Sound Designer - Paul Plunkett
Costume Consultant - Mary Hayes
Props - Andre Combs, Ariadne Shaffer & Blake Williams
Stage Manager - Colleen Paeff
Assistant Stage Managers - Stephanie Bell & Susan Estes
Carpenters - Jeff Benninghofen, Aaron Francis, Katia Kaplun & Rik Keller
Additional Carpentry - David P. Moore
Technical Coordinator - Rik Keller
Graphic Design - Desi Doyen & Brad Friedman

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L-R Tom Chalmers, Jennifer Barrick,
Joe Hernandez-Kolski & Rob Brink

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The Writers
(whattaya suppose they're starin' at?)

FRONT L-R: Paul Plunkett, Joshua Rebell, John Sylvain
BACK L-R: Donna-Tina Charles, Rik Keller,  David Rodwin
Pogo Saito (not pictured: George Larkin)

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The Cast & Crew
(Hey JS, nice bird - Kato)

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Jonesing for a fix, jello topped with mayonnaise, getting shot at while delivering a Christmas present, and a brawl between two couples - one Jewish, one Mormon. Such are the seasonal joys in Sacred Fools' bracingly raucous bill of eight holiday-themed plays. The assemblage makes for a long, often manic, occasionally flat evening. It's a wonderful opportunity for the ensemble to show off its razzle-dazzle. In David Rodwin's savage Holiday Resort, directed by Quinn Sullivan, the clash of Nastler family and the Goode clan provokes anything but good cheer; P.J. Byrne, Linda Miller and Tina Ballabio bristle in their roles. Blue X-Mas, written by Joshua Rebell, contains the production's most intriguing storytelling, tracing monied Will's (Jeff Benninghofen) mysterious odyssey through New York on an apparently innocuous errand. David P. Moore's direction makes good use of the Heliotrope Theater's wide stage. George Larkin's The Naked Holidays Opening, directed gleefully by Alexander Yannis Stephano, is the pick of the show. A multicultural mιlange outlining the contrasting traditions of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa melds with a debunking of Christian traditions, climaxing in a semi-clothed chorus line.

Paul B. Cohen



Perhaps it was to distinguish themselves from the flood of Christmas Carols and Nutcrackers on stages this December, or maybe their costume budget had shrunk to the size of a sugar plum. Whatever the reason, the wacky folks at Sacred Fools have shunned tradition and instead put together an evening of sex and silliness called Naked Holidays to celebrate the season.  As evidenced by the opening ensemble number-which includes a straight-laced Amish couple bellowing about the Bible while indulging in a spanking session, and men in g-strings emblazoned with proclamations such as "Stocking Stuffer"-most anything goes with this goofy group.  Written and directed by a total of 16 different company members, Naked Holidays is a collection of eight adult-themed shorts that look, through rather twisted lenses, at Christmas, Hanukkah, and other versions of holiday celebrations. "Terry Twigstix and the Christmas Lesson," for example, is partly narrated in Dr. Suess-like fashion by Lisette Bross and her rod-puppet mouse, and concerns two kids (Shirley Anderson and Eric C. Johnson) who conjure up a half-naked, wild-looking God of Winter named Terry Twigstix (Benjamin Davis) to teach their Grinchy old grandma (Elizabeth Warner) a tough lesson.

And "The Christmas Fix," based on William S. Burroughs' A Junky's Christmas, demonstrates that even an addict (Joe Hernandez-Kolski) can get into the holiday spirit when he eases a sick child's (Dean Jacobson) pain by giving him the drugs he just scored. This tale is narrated by Maggie the Smoke Poet (a terrifically bold Jennifer Barrick), dressed as a combat vet, in a dark, urbanized take-off of ""Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Lots of heart (and flesh) is revealed in "Nude, Nude, Nude, Holidays,Holidays, Holidays," in which a group of seasoned strippers (Barrick as dominatrix Tiffany, Ariadne Shaffer as working mom Candy, and Lisa Grant as little drummer girl Jasmine) pool their tips to send the homesick new girl, Amber (Stephanie Noel Little), back to her Midwest family for the holidays.

In the intriguing but somewhat convoluted "Blue X-mas," an unknowingly neglectful husband (an appealing Jeff Benninghofen) gets a holiday lesson in appreciating his wife (Babe Marie Hack). Timbre Henning sparks a lot of laughs here as an off-kilter receptionist.

In "Credit Where Credit Is Due," an arrogant, self-absorbed producer (John Hamm) learns about forgiveness and sharing when Santa (Scott McShane) finally delivers the train set he'd asked for, and never received, in 1973, during his parent's break-up. "Holiday Burn" refers not only to Grandma's (Ruth Silveira) tendency to overcook the meat, but to the way her granddaughter Lisa (Jessie Marion) reacts when Lisa's well-meaning but condescending mother (Noelle Potvin) arrives for dinner. And "Holiday Resort" examines the peculiar proclivities, sexual and otherwise, of two different families-one ridiculously high-strung and the other absurdly cheerful-as they celebrate Christmas together at a desert spa.

Simple props, set pieces, and sound effects, supported by Aaron Francis' congenial lighting, help keep Naked Holidays exactly what it is: a frivolous and somewhat saucy way to make merry this holiday season.

Terri Roberts



There are 8 million stories in the naked holidays . . . and "Naked Holidays," at Sacred Fools Theatre, tells seven of them. It's naked in the sense of exposing all sorts of holiday-related emotions--the jangled as well as the jingled--as well as in a more literal way. Although there's no full frontal nudity, a few moments come close (with both genders). There are scenes of sex and violence. This is not a show for kids.  Most of the clothes come off near the end of George Larkin's frisky musical introduction, which also establishes that the holidays in question include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and solstice celebrations, as well as Christmas. The show pokes fun at its own ethnic nondiversity by enlisting an unwilling white guy (Jeff Benninghofen) to explain Kwanzaa.  Not all of the seven vignettes that follow are especially raw. Even John Sylvain's "Nude Nude Nude," which is set backstage at a strip club, is sentimental in the time-honored Christmas tradition.

In Joshua Rebell's "Blue X-mas," "blue" refers to melancholic, not to risquι. Rebell tells a shaggy-dog story about an upscale New Yorker (Benninghofen), bored by the holidays, who's asked to deliver a present by his wife and becomes involved in a trail of unsettling intrigue. Loose ends dangle, but the protagonist ends up excited anew by life and by his wife. As directed by David P. Moore, it's a strange but satisfying pick-me-up.

Nothing else is as good. The first sketch is the most ambitious--combining puppetry, rhymed couplets, a mythological being and dark generational satire--but it misfires in a big way. Many of the other pieces, more modest in ambition, succeed modestly.

Donna Tina Charles' "Holiday Burn" pokes fun at Middle American culinary standards and control freaks. Rik Keller's "Credit Where Credit Is Due" is a tongue-in-cheek account of a tardy Santa's transformation of a salacious Hollywood mogul. David Rodwin's "Holiday Resort" offers a bit of local California color before it slips into heavy-handed domestic lampoonery. Paul Plunkett's "The Christmas Fix," based on William S. Burroughs' "A Junky's Christmas," nimbly displays the holiday spirit at work in the lower depths.


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Happy Holidays from Sacred Fools
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