By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Nobody would be laughing then, no matter how many dead cats got flung around the stage, or human heads got severed with garden shears. It's a fine line between unfettered comedy and unfettered rage. I'm not sure that Pine's handsome terrorist Padraic is sufficiently terrifying, but the ensemble is strong, with every note ringing true under Wilson Milam's staging.
A new L.A.-based ensemble called Psittacus Productions is extending a performance of A Tale Told by an Idiot from the Hollywood Fringe at Son of Semele theater. It's a mash-up of Shakespeare's Macbeth that includes the character of Guy Fawkes, which suggests an influence from Bill Cain's Equivocation. Every scene of the hour-long piece is a plot against somebody's life or a murder, starring — among the very strong ensemble — the lighting plot of designer Dan Weingarten.
The action unfolds behind a scrim and is lit entirely with pin lights, some on the floor, some held by the performers. We see only faces, shifting eyes and shadows creeping across scrims and walls. The three witches (Casey Fitzgerald, Madeleine Hamer and Liz Saydah) appear in masks, and all we see are those masks, or three hands crawling up a wall, or feet tremulously stepping. In some scenes we just see two daggers, barely illuminated, and little more. With composer Graham Galatro's composition, the effect is mesmerizing, culminating in the closing line, that comes in Macbeth right before the more famous "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing." The line that lingers is that line's direct predecessor: "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."
THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE | By MARTIN McDONAGH | Presented by CENTER THEATRE GROUP at the MARK TAPER FORUM, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. | Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; through Aug. 7 | (213) 628-2772
A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT | "Inspired by William Shakespeare's Macbeth" | Presented by Psittacus Productions | SON OF SEMELE, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A. | Opens July 9; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through July 25 | (646) 425-4615