SACRED FOOLS | MAINSTAGE 1999 - WANT'S UNWISHED WORK

3 1999 LA Weekly Award Nominations!
Comedy Direction, Alexander Yannis Stephano
Comedy Ensemble
Costume Design, M.E. Dunn

2 Backstage West Garland Awards 1999
(Honorable Mentions)

Writing, Kirk Wood Bromley
Scenic and Costume Design, M. E. Dunn

FEBRUARY 25 - MAY 2, 1999
at Sacred Fools Feb 25 - Apr 3, 1999
extended at the Hudson Mainstage Apr 8 - May 2, 1999


A WEST COAST PREMIERE
WANT'S UNWISHED WORK
or
A BIRTHDAY PLAY
Written by Kirk Wood Bromley - Directed by Alexander Yannis Stephano

Starring:
Kurt Carley - Nicole Gallie - Caroline Gray Anders - Amy Bryson - Shirley Roeca - Lauren Daniels -Scott McShane - Christopher Paul Hart - Dallas Dickinson - Rob Brink - Bryan Bellomo - Joe Henandez-Kolski - Graham McCann - Charles Michael Edmonds - Dan Etheridge - Sacha Vaughn - Michael Houston King

99photos2.gif (5173 bytes)


Christopher Paul Hart, Caroline Gray Anders
& Dallas Dickinson (kneeling)


L to R: Joe Henandez-Kolski, Rob Brink & Bryan Bellomo

99reviews2.gif (5135 bytes)

LA WEEKLY  - *Pick Of The Week

We're offered glimpses of a bona fide modern classic in director Alexander Yannis Stephano's brisk and wonderfully farcical staging of playwright Kirk Wood Bromley's sexy and intellectually thrilling verse comedy - a pyrotechnic verbal feast in pun-filled iambic pentameter. This tour-de-force production offers arch satire, bawdy repartee and clockwork comic performances. It's so clever, you regret that comedies written in verse are so rare. Prim feminist Professor Bertha (Caroline Gray Andres, hilariously strident) opens an all-female "Women's Study" center and invites her acolytes Marla (Amy Bryson), Lydia (Shirley Roeca) and Corme (Lauren Daniels) to move in - on the condition that no menfolk sully their corridors of power. Of course, Marla and Lydia soon prevail on the fave studs - handsome, dim Leavus (Michael Houston King) and hirsute hippie poet Warren (Scott McShane) - to don women's clothes for clandestine visits. Occasional patches of Bromley's savage dialogue are lost to imprecise diction, but Andres' daffy Dr. Bertha, King's humiliated bohunk Leavus, Bryson and Roeca's pedantic, but horny feminists - as well as a supporting cast of hilarious, acrobatic players - are deliberately ingratiating, offering spry and assured performances. Add M.E. Dunn's Astrobrite cartoonish set and costumes, and you have a production that's as much a feast for the eyes as the ears.

-Paul Birchall
1999 LA WEEKLY
 

L.A. Times - *Critics' Pick

Kirk Wood Bromley writes with witty bite, bawdy flair, gender-bending dynamics and iambic pentameter in the romantic comedy "Want's Unwished Work, or A Birthday Play," at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood. Intellectual analysis is pitted against lusty love as director Alexander Yannis Stephano whips this shamelessly funny ensemble into a breathless gallop.
Dr. Bertha Lerner (Caroline Gray Andres) opens a psychological research center to work with her idol, the pompous and slightly sinister Dr. Kling (Christopher Paul Hart). The center allows only two men, Kling and his assistant, Erad (Dallas Dickinson), and the gender-questionable housemother, Vazoline (Kurt Carley), who explains his sexual identity by declaring, "I am a man although to manliness I am AWOL."
Entering the house are the attractive Southerner, Marla (Amy Bryson); the bookish Lydia (Shirley Roeca); and the sensible Corme (Lauren Daniels). 
Lonely for lovemaking, Marla's boyfriend, the insensitive jock Leavus (Michael Houston King), and Lydia's hippie poet boyfriend, Warren (Scott McShane), don feminine frocks to meet with their sweethearts, and a farce of mistaken identity and cross-purposes ensues.
In a wild but funny tangent, some brash bachelors (Rob Brink, Joe Hernandez-Kolski, Bryan Bellomo and Charles Barrett) scope out the females, and a birthday-gram in the form of the Wishful Waiters (Graham McAnn, Charles Michael Edmonds, Dan Etheridge and Sacha Vaughn) arrives.
M.E. Dunn created an explosion of color between the set and costume design. This production is a wonderful blend of wordsmithing and wackiness.
BE THERE

- Jana J. Monji
1999 LA Times

NiteLife
Volume 31
Issue #6

By popular demand, the Sacred Fools Theatre Company’s acclaimed production of Kirk Wood Bromley’s "Want’s Unwished Work or a Birthday Play" has not only been extended, but moved to the Hudson Mainstage to continue its run (and make room for the opening of the groups new production "Dead Lawyers" on April 22nd at its 660 N. Heliotrope Dr. theatre in Hollywood). This new company is beginning to make a name for itself in town.  But I digress...This odd little tale of girlish feminism, testosterone and budding hormones, "Want’s Unwished Work," tells of youthful romance by way of verse-an iambic pentameter...of sorts.
Here’s the good news: the piece cleverly blends several classic comedy styles from Commedia Dell’Arte and Shakespearean flavor to slapstick and contemporary. The extraordinarily fire-cracker cast fairly exhausts its audience by the sheer power of its energy and commitment. Each player creates a caricature of marvelous originality and likability. They virtually fly around the stage. Director Alexander Yannis Stephano has staged and paced this show at break-neck speed and manages to maintain a sense of bizarro style that is quite charming. M.E.Dunn’s cartoonesque set and flamboyant costumes are a delight. And speaking about de-lights, Burris Jackes lighting design brightly dazzles the visual offerings.  All that having been said, here come the bad news: the script’s neo iambic pentameter unfortunately translates-to this reviewer anyway-as more iambic pentamebabble. I think Bromley, who obviously has a generous bit of genius in him, has taken the goof on the verse pattern just a bit to far. There is no variance to be found; little lyricism; lite on lilt. Confusing and ponderous at times. With the continuous barrage of jarring verse, my ears soon became weary, though obviously many have enjoyed this "work of unwished wants."

-Dave DePino
1999 NiteLife

Theatrescope

Want’s Unwished Work Or a Birthday Play, by Kirk Wood Bromley, is a July Fourth kind of play, one that explodes with color, energy and excitement. Written in verse-iambic pentameter to be exact-it is anything but stuffy, pretentious or difficult. On the contrary, Bromley writes with an irreverent, pop flair and packs his dialogue with jokes, puns and enough double entendre to satisfy a Benny Hill fan. His exuberant, freewheeling comic style is perfectly matched by Alexander Yannis Stephano’s directorial gifts, which exploit clowning and commedia dell’arte to hilarious effect. Stephano’s contributions are wellmatched by designer M.E. Dunne who has come up with some of the whackiest, way out costumes and set-pieces this side of Crumb Comixs. The creative team is also fortunate in having such a gift company of actors as Sacred Fools to deliver its skewed vision of the play. All 18 actors in the cast were not only able to deliver Bromley’s jaunty, rapid-fire dialogue but to run, tumble, jump and dance-sometimes solo, other times in ensembles. The storyline, such as it is, involves a newly married playwright (Kurt Carley) who cranks out a comedy as a present to his bride (Nicole Gallie). His feverished imagination conjures up an all-female institution for the study of "sex and women" run by a nutso doctor (Caroline Gray Andres). The first three enrollees are dismayed to find their boyfriends will not be allowed to visit them. The guys, facing celibacy, take the news even harder (pun intended). They scheme with their irate, macho leader Nichedigger (Rob Brink), to infiltrate the institution, dressed as women. Gender-swapping, cross-dressing and much high-camp humor are the result. The theme that emerges from all this bawdry and buffoonery is that people will go at any lengths to find love and sex.

 -  Willard Manus
1999 Theaterscope

The Hellenic

Alexander Yannis Stephano has come to Los Angeles from New York and has brought him the ‘comedy for smart people’ "Want’s Unwished Work" which will open at the Sacred Fools Theatre on February 25. Alexander was in the original New York cast, but now he has taken on the task of directing the comedy of Kirk Wood Bromley. "Directing and acting, though of course they intermingle, are quite separate. When I act I must only think of one character but when I direct I have to get into the minds of all 18 characters," said Alexander, rushing between rehearsals.  The play employs a framing device of an adoring husband who writes a play as a birthday present for his exhausted, overworked wife. The contents of this frame are displayed as she sleeps. Though lightly reminiscent of Shakespeare, Bromley definitely speaks with his own hilarious voice providing theatergoers with a play of wit, intelligence and imagery. It was a success in New York, playing an extended run to capacity audiences.  Alexander was born in Philadelphia though his family came from Heraklion, Crete. He returns often to see his family, his mother and stepfather, who is a medical professor at the University of Crete, and his younger brother who is a student at that university.  Alexander has an impressive list of credits as an actor. He has worked in many New York and regional theaters and has a level of professional training unusual in this film business city. Six months ago he came here resolved to break into film and television and it was Los Angeles’ gain. There doesn’t seem any problem about adjusting to the west coast. "I live in Venice near the beach, which is a big leap from Brooklyn. I love driving so the fact that L.A. is a car city is fine with me. I also love the idea of watching the sunset and being able to run on the beach, and the burger joints are better here."

-  Mavis Manus
1999 The Hellenic