The presence and truth of God is often cold hard fact for the devout. For those less convinced, there could exist a struggle… Elephant Theatre Company has given life to this struggle with 100 Saints You Should Know.
Review by Tracy Lynn Schafer
Wrestling with his faith and his place in the Church, Father Matthew (Brendan Farrell) is asked to take a leave of absence, after a number of risquÃ© photos are found hidden in his living quarters. With nowhere else to turn, Father Matthew returns to his childhood home, where his mother (Pamela Roylance) proves to be no help in his resolution. While Father Matthew cannot seem to answer any questions he himself may have about God, others still flock to his cloth in hope of guidance. Included in this motley crew is a young man, Garrett (Marco Naggar), struggling with his sexual identity, Theresa (Cheryl Huggins) who battles with her own lack of faith, and Abby (Kate Huffman) Theresa”™s daughter, who is nothing short of a troubled youth. All these ticking time bombs share the stage, guiding one another and the audience through one fateful – and faithless – night.
The cast of 100 Saints You Should Know were guided by the lovely direction of Lindsay Allbaugh. With the combination of said direction and playwright Kate Fodor”™s clever dialogue, the actors had no difficulty bringing the complex relationships to the stage. So many words come to mind to describe how this play landed on me. It was heartbreaking and honest. Dealing with a multitude of themes from religion and God, to love, intimacy and sex, longing and communication – this play tackles it all.
While each player brought to the stage a fine performance, two actors were exceptionally stellar. Kate Huffman who plays Abby, portrayed a modern day teenager so colorfully, at times I wanted to shake her out of her own attitude riddled reality. She reminds the audience just how bewildering the world can be when you are coming of age. Marco Naggar, who plays another troubled youth named Garrett, completely stole the show for me in a completely curious, naÃ¯ve, innocent sort of way. Naggar offers up a tragic comedic presence in one beat and then morose drama in the next. He was captivating and sad. This was the loss of youth unfolding before our very eyes.
100 Saints You Should Know
Elephant Theatre Company at Elephant Stages
6322 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, Ca. 90038
Runs until Saturday, July 16th, 2011.
Friday and Saturdays, 8pm
Approximately 120 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission
$20.00 General Admission
Purchase tickets here or call (323) 962-0046
About the theatre:
In 1995, the Elephant theatre Company (Elephant off Main) was created by graduates from the California State Long Beach theatre Arts Program. Focused on their desire to continue their craft after graduation they renovated a warehouse space in the once Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery in downtown Los Angeles. After pulling together some of the most talented writers, actors, directors and minds they had worked with over the years they opened a 45-seat theatre and called it the Elephant off Main. This eclectic space became the home to more than 50 artists who successfully performed, directed and produced nine productions. At this time the goal of this new company and its founders was to produce a new brand of quality original theatre in Los Angeles. In the summer of 1997, the small 45-seat theatre could no longer accommodate the advancing production needs or the increasing audience attendance. The E.O.M. then moved to Hollywood and produced several critically acclaimed original works at various Los Angeles venues. All the while, not losing sight of their original goal and continuing to incorporate new and dedicated members. 1998/99 saw many positive changes for the Elephant Theatre Company. As three of the original creators moved on to pursue other avenues of their careers David Fofi made the decision to continue the journey. Along with Founding member Don Cesario and in association with Gary Blumsack, built a new home for the Elephant called the Lillian theatre. Dave and Don serve as the company”™s Producing Artistic Directors. After weeks of demolition and renovation David, Don & Gary rolled up the doors to the Lillian theatre located in Hollywood, CA. Since January of 1999, The Lillian theatre has not only been home to Elephant Company productions but many visiting Productions as well. Continuing with the momentum and again expanding on the original Elephant Mission Statement, Dave and Don made the decision to move forward to develop a second stage. The Elephant Space located within the same building as the Lillian theatre, to serve as the Company”™s resident home. It is also available to visiting production companies, artists, and theatre groups alike. After months of renovation, the Elephant Space opened its doors with an original Company script.
2000/01 they add a third and fourth space, a classroom studio and The Lab theatre. With these additions came the necessity to form the business/producing entity called Elephant Stageworks, overseeing both venue operations and theatre Company endeavors. In 2003 the final piece was added with the opening of the Elephant Asylum theatre. The complex will not only be a forum for live productions but additional space for workshops, play readings, classes, improvisational exercises, recitals, art exhibits and whatever lends itself to the creative nature of the spaces.
With dedication, hard work, and tenacity in an environment where risks can be taken with impunity and integrity, Elephant Stageworks is committed to forging new ground and exploring innovative concepts while pushing the boundaries of contemporary theatre.