Sacred Fools is locally world famous for bold, even outré theatre, even so the current production, Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk by Lars Mattsun, extends the righteous flame of theatrical invention into the quirky territory of, let’s say, Waiting for Guffman, or as another writer suggested, the hammy realm of Monty Python. I knew when I was handed an electronic devise and a pair of headphones as I entered the theatre that I was in for a special evening. I was not disappointed.
It is the theatrical conceit of this show that the play, written by the obscure, prolific, unsuccessful Swedish playwright, Lars Mattsun, has been dredged up and staged by director/adaptor/interpreter/choreographer Todd Merrill. He is a tartan of a director who micro manages all aspects of the show and even comments to the audience through their headphones on the action of the performance, which is annoying and hilarious at the same time.
The story line, such as it is, concerns the youngish, unsuccessful, tortured artist Phillip (the physically fit, spectacularly awkward Timothy Nathan Kopacz), who is teetering on the edge of sanity on the eve of his impending marriage to Mariah (Laura Nicole Harrison), whose hands are bandaged and held upright in front of her. The language is overblown and romantic with allusion to the wonders of nature. In his, shall we say, artistic madness, Phillip sees visions of a spectral, adolescent female (Kita Grayson as The Mysterious Child). Other characters flesh out the action– co-writer Selina Merrill as Madame Shekstenlodt; co-writer Carolyn Almos as Gertrud and Wendy; co-writer Jon Beauregard as Benjamin and others; and Scott Leggett as Barnaby and others. Throughout, Todd Merrill overwhelms the onstage action with often distracting, deprecating comments to the audience through their headphones.
At the risk of giving something away, Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk is directed by Albert Dayan, based on the original production directed by Matt Almos. The production is in turns sporadically hilarious and perplexing, but always intriguing. The show has a minimalist set design consisting of a red swath of fabric sweeping across the walls of the playing space and an intriguing floor design by scenic painter Barbara Lempel; Brandon Baruch and associate producer Allison Sulock are associate lighting designers; Linda Muggridge is the costume designer and the stage is managed with assurance by Rachel Mannheim.
Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk, created and developed by Burglars of Hamm and The Ghost Road Company, runs through November 3 at The Broadwater Main Stage, 1076 Lillian Way in Los Angeles.