Written and Directed by Chris Wollman
One of the things I like most about the Hollywood Fringe is that it gives ideas that perhaps would have a hard time seeing the light of day a place to thrive…
The Sacred Beasts is a play that might seem a little ‘out there’ when first you discover that it’s about the booze-fueled, ego driven, combative and destructive friendships between two of the most difficult and narcissistic characters of modern culture, Orson Wells and Ernest Hemingway. But boy is it oh so good…
Set over three acts and starring three different sets of Hemingways and Orsons, "The Sacred Beasts" is a beguiling glimpse into a rarely seen love-hate relationship these two ‘giants’ maintained over several decades.
Each act brings us another chapter, as age gnaws at them, success eludes them and fame destroys them.
The playwright Chris Wollman manages to bring a humanity to their tortured encounters and as he does we understand how they found such an intense camaraderie with each other, something they were not able to with so many others. These two ‘beasts’ seemed to seek each other out at painful moments in their lives, and in doing so found a balance in their madness, if only for a moment. Their genius haunted them, and they both saw the torment in their final years of having been brilliant once, and never being quite able to recreate it. They set the bar so very high that, in the end, even they could not reach it.
It’s a fascinating subject. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be in the same room as these two, while they circled each other like maniacal and ever admiring sharks? "The Sacred Beasts" is an effort to afford us that privilege and, through the brilliant talents of all six actors, we can suspend our disbelief long enough through the course of the play to indulge our fantasy and be all the better for it.
It’s such a clever way to lay out for us the core of these two men’s souls, their search for truth, their bucking of tradition, and loathing of all things “civilized” and conventional. Part of what made them gods was their rejection of us mortals and because of it that made them ultimately so alone.
It’s a wonderful play, full of beautiful and eery performances, not mimicry, but homage and all effortlessly real and true to each moment of these proud men’s lives.
The testosterone was positively dripping off the walls…as I am sure Hemingway and Orson would have loved!
Jerome St. Jerome
John Patrick Davis
Casting, Costumes, Producer - Lia Wollman
Stage Manager - Pam Noles
Selected dates and times:
Part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival
Saturday, June 3 – 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 11 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 17 – 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 18 – 4 p.m.
$15 with comps available for members of the press upon request.
$5 for all Fringe participants
**Seniors and students $3 off with code “HFF17” ID checked at the door.
Appropriate for ages 16+
FOR TICKETS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: