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The Wake of Dick Johnson

The West Coast premiere of the Off-Broadway production, “The Wake of Dick Johnson.” Performed live and in person by writer and director Luke Walker, will be part of the 2021 Hollywood Fringe Festival.

In this pitch black, one-man comedy, Dick Johnson lies in an open casket, surrounded by flickering candles, dead flowers, and a red neon cross nailed above him.

“The Wake of Dick Johnson” at Hollywood Fringe Festival 2021
“The Wake of Dick Johnson” at Hollywood Fringe Festival 2021

In this small, claustrophobic and intimate room, the audience are the attendees of his wake, when he returns from the other side for one last bottle of his beloved hooch, to enlighten us about grim realities we all face in the afterlife, and have a conversation with his pedophilic Uncle Willy.  

Challenging an audience’s threshold for taboo language and graphic imagery, “The Wake of Dick Johnson” is a darkly humorous and morbid look that the agony of life and torture of an alternate universe afterlife, where quantum entanglement challenges concepts of the terrestrial laws of physics. Dick espouses that the afterlife is a grim, eternal, and inescapable astral plane, where the misdeeds of all mankind, throughout all ages, replays on an eternal loop in the 4th-dimension.

“The Wake of Dick Johnson” at Hollywood Fringe Festival 2021
“The Wake of Dick Johnson” at Hollywood Fringe Festival 2021

Intended for mature audiences only. Please note that in keeping with the characters, this play contains offensive content, including racist terms, blasphemy, themes and depictions of violence, sexism, abuse and extensive profanity. 

“There is a message: the pain we suffered through in life remains even in death. So, live life your way, as Dick said, because death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Time Out New York selected “The Wake of Dick Johnson” as one of its top-thirteen Halloween theater events along-side then current New York productions of “The Glass Menagerie,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Sleep No More.”

Broadway World said about “The Wake of Dick Johnson,” “If you’re craving something disturbing  (because who isn’t?), “The Wake of Dick Johnson” might just be it. Gory, freaky, and downright alarming, the show is graphic in every sense of the word, from its profane language to its grotesque imagery.  Johnson reminiscences about his life chock full of sex, drugs, and booze — but through his rage we learn more about his real, deep-rooted pain, and the traumatizing relationship he had with one family member.  And there’s a good chance you’ll never look at Snow White the same way again.”

“The Wake of Dick Johnson” at Hollywood Fringe Festival 2021
“The Wake of Dick Johnson” at Hollywood Fringe Festival 2021

North Carolina’s QC Nerve named Dick Johnson Best of the Year One Man Show 2019.  “Poetic, profane and black as a starless night, “The Wake of Dick Johnson” is a comic, eloquent and upsetting rumination on a meaningless universe where even death will not relieve the pain of living. Walker’s is a distinctive voice that taps into the unease and uncertainty that many are feeling in an era ravaged by cruelty, corruption and decay.”

“By the show’s end Walker as Johnson doesn’t address the question of where we go from here, but perhaps his point is that there may be nowhere to go.  When Johnson quotes astronomer Carl Sagan to the effect that we’re all made of stardust, Johnson points out that stellar matter eventually collapses into a black hole, so if we’re spawned from stars we’re also comprised of the most destructive matter in the universe from which no light escapes.  Walker’s irreverent Wake is a pitch-black sermon delivered with style, panache and a fuck-ton of swear words.”

What:

“The Wake of Dick Johnson”

When:

Eight performances August 5 through 26:

Thursday, August 5 at 8pm
Friday, August 6 at 8pm
Monday, August 16 at 8pm
Tuesday, August 17 at 8 pm
Wednesday, August 18 at 8pm
Monday, August 23 at 8pm
Tuesday, August 24 at 8pm
Wednesday, August 25 at 8pm

Where: 

Hudson Theatre
6539 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Tickets:

https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7066


“The Wake of Dick Johnson” first premiered in 2016 at Maggie Mae’s Pub in Sunnyside Queens for three performances followed by two months of performances in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2019. The production returned to New York City in late 2019 for additional performances at Performance Space 122 just before the pandemic.

A feature film was adapted for the screen from the 2016 play. The film, which Walker wrote, directed, produced and starred in under the same title, was produced by Alt Variety and distributed by Amazon. 

Luke H. Walker is a former journalist who’s written and directed two feature films, including the adaptation of “The Wake of Dick Johnson.” He’s produced and directed several music videos for emerging artists, has authored many plays and feature length screenplays and worked for several major New York media outlets, including The Examiner, Thefix.com Alt Variety, and Africa Watch.

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