Terry Southern wrote Easy Rider, Barbarella, Doctor Strangelove and a host of other classic movies along with searing and clever articles and stories steeped in a hippie intellectualism, and he is certainly a man whose life makes for interesting theater. Despite some missteps, playwright Charles Pike has written a generally interesting semibiographical work, but two distinct plays emerge out of his “day-in-the-life” approach: One is a deep and disturbing, darkly comedic portrait of a mad genius of the '60s (a suitably sardonic Chairman Barnes) disintegrating into professional seclusion. The other is a punch-line-laden vaudevillian romp packed with iconic characters (including William Burroughs played with rich dryness by Roy Allen). The collisions of these two tracks keep either from melding into a singular stage experience. The cast is mostly good, despite some sloppy timing (possibly the result of a jittery opening night). But David LM McIntyre's loose staging dulls some potentially sharp and funny moments. The play is set on the day of Richard Nixon's resignation, a day of joy for Terry and his gaggle, who spend the second act spouting wry liberal vitriol, perhaps tacitly lamenting that their enemy — and essentially their purpose — is gone. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 Heliotrope, Silver Lake; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 21. (310) 281-8337.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Jan. 16. Continues through Feb. 21, 2009

LA Weekly