File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 88

Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2009 02:26:41 GMT
Subject: [Puptcrit] Open Fist Theatre comedy

I saw a 60 minute Dario Fo bawdy comedy in Hollywood today at Open Fist Theatre, now in new digs at 6203 W Santa Monica at El Centro St, a block east of Vine St.. It has been a theatre space for other companies in the past. Excellent performers, a witty translation. At least half the troup is  made up with "mature" (white hair or gray) actors who "know" acting.

Today's 3 pm matinee was "pay what you can" so I got in for $6 before I knew how good it would be. I went because the L A Times rave review mentioned that there were puppets along with the actors. Two were life-size primitive bodies in period costume with heads made from painted platic wig heads, hands were stuffed gloves---basically they were limited in action to fill a courtroom scene during a trial. Later, when an assistant devil plans to corrupt a judge known for proper behavior and virtue, he plans to take over the judge's body but mistakenly enters the housekeeper's body by mistake, hence the show's title, "The Devil with Boobs".

There is scatalogical humor afoot (a corrupt Cardinal eats horse dung and drinks devil piss from a wine bottle). Even the proper judge ends up drunk for the first time in his life.

The devil, in order to enter the housekeeper's body is instructed to enter by the back door (rear end) so he needs to change size from over 6 ft tall to a small red and very simple rod puppet. Thankfully the alleged penetration occurs under the bed covers. A great deal is made of the importance of removing his horns first.

The show runs a fast 60 minutes with no intermission. Live music by violin, mandolin, washtub /taut rope/mop-handle  (plucked cello effect) plus singing and dancing. Inspiring to see so much energy for the entire hour. Stage sets made up of various sized weathered doors which open like they did on a Laugh-in (TV) set.

I had a fiont-row seat, and at one point a wench suddenly sat on my hand and knee---at that point it seemed best not to move my hand, but I think she was a bit surprised.
Oh well, tha's show-biz.

The house keeper was the standout--as being posessed, she assumed a deeper voice and behaved properly or rather improperly wanton.At the beginning of the show, "someone had burnt down the cathedral, and stolen a golden statue of St George upon a horse."  Somehow everything got unravelled more or less and in the final scene the whole cast is on the bed, hanging onto it or posed in front of it. What a way to observe Palm Sunday.

Amazingly I got there from Altadena, actually found parking a block away and got a seat in less than 45 minutes. In L.A. Traffic, seemed a miracle I was impelled to go by divine intervention, having just read the Times' review at 2 pm from a day-old Saturday's paper.

While the devil puppet had a brief but key role, I cannot say the manipulation was a transforming experience.. But it got laughs. 

To laugh at the devil is a good defence.

Alan Cook

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