Another Classic of Western Literature
Here is what Jay Harvey had to say about the production in today's Star:
"Another Classic of Western Literature." Matthew Roland's hard-hitting comedy is a self-contained stimulus package of cynicism given an exuberant production by the local Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre.Charles Goad plays a conscienceless business titan who summons a lowly employee (Sam Fain) to his office with a bizarre proposition. Their true relationship can't be revealed here; the same goes for a lot of the show's humor, which is not for the faint of heart. Wealthy people's love of memorializing themselves is skewered and done to a turn, too.
Any new comedy with a character named "God" spells trouble. Are we in for a spate of sophomoric theology mouthed by a self-doubting deity? Well, of course, but I had to admire the way Roland entangles the Almighty in the fates of the two main characters. Besides, Rich Komenich's portrayal is so daft and rumpled that you have to give it grudging love. Next performance: 9 p.m. today.
Lou Harry declares "Outrageous, very funny"
For my evening double feature, I started with Matthew Roland’s play “Another Classic of Western Literature,” presented by Heartland Actors Repertory Theatre. Outrageous, very funny, and with more than its share of blistering lines, the play’s strongest suit is a pair of smile-just-thinking-about-them supporting characters/performances. While God has appeared in many comedic plays and films, actor Rich Komenich and Roland come up with a truly original creation. The playwright himself, credited as Don Jamaica, offers an equally unforgettable performance as a, well, I don’t want to ruin the joy of that particular surprise.
The play is still a few steps away from being a classic of western literature — a sharply acted and directed climax and coda didn’t quite bring things to a satisfying conclusion. But having a Fringe show premiere at this level of writing and acting helps elevate the fest. I’d love to see more professional companies in Indy try their hands at 50-minute Fringe shows. And I’m looking forward to seeing what Roland comes up with next.
-Lou Harry, IBJ 8/23/09
Hope Buagh says "chewy and hilarious"
“Another Classic of Western Literature”
My post-show tweet for this piece was “chewy and hilarious.” It is, indeed, bizarre and bark-worthy, filled with amazingly layered characters, didn’t-see-THAT-coming plot twists, and great line after great line after great line.
It is also a richly staged play - something you don’t see often at the Fringe because everything has to be very portable and easy to change in time for the next show 30 minutes later. This show, in spite of the Fringe constraints - has interesting and effective lighting, sound, and costume designs and the handful of set pieces are perfectly chosen.
The acting is stellar. Chuck Goad, Sam Fein, Rich Komenich, and Matt Roland are my heroes. Michael Shelton directed.
I left this show laughing and thinking “WTF?!” but it was a satisfied feeling rather than a frustrated one, if that makes sense.
- Hope Baugh, IndyTheatreHabit.com 8/23/09
SPOILER ALERT!!!! Smaller Indiana blog - "this play delivers laughs"
Sure, I was bummed. But there are plenty of unsold-out shows that must go on, so Melissa and I headed down the hall to TOTS’ mainstage where “Another Classic of Western Literature” was already in progress. The friendly usher gave us a program and reminded us to be quiet as we entered the theatre. We gracefully tiptoed our way to the only empty seats at the end of the third row. Judging by the audience’s laughter, Matthew Roland’s comedy was receiving very funny staging by Indianapolis-based Heartland Actors’ Repertory Theatre. This show is HART’s first Fringe foray and marks the return of Roland, creator of 2006’s hit TRES FREAK.
The setup for A.C.O.W.L. is fairly simple. An evil, scotch-drinking CEO named Sackett Hedgecock (Charles Goad) conspires to fake his own death before his financially faltering company crumbles in the econolypse. The merciless chief needs a sacrificial lamb, though, and his scorned slacker son Danny (Sam Fain) is the perfect fall guy. Danny works for his dad’s company, but the two haven’t spoken in years. Now sitting in Hedgecock’s skyscraper office, Danny can’t believe his father’s savage scheme to make him wear one of his CEO suits and then jump out of the window to his death.
Woven into the story is a monster named F*** You (Don Jamaica), who is actually Hedgecock’s middle-fingered offspring and Danny’s secret sibling. When it becomes clear that Danny will not go gently onto that windowsill, Hedgecock uses a pistol to coerce him. Father and son scuffle, until God (Rich Komenich) shows up wearing nothing but a cloud. Where they go from there is not anyplace you’re expecting. Amid the jokes and F-bombs, this play delivers laughs and an idea or two to consider. Although I didn’t love the ending (neither did Melissa), I won’t let that overshadow the play’s ridiculous and hilarious high points.
- Erin Monahan, SmallerIndiana blog 8/23/09
Katelyn Coyne "stark raving magnificent"
Another Classic of Western Literature: HART’s Irreverent Fringe Offering
by Katelyn Coyne on August 23, 2009
in Art, IndyFringe, Theatre, Theatre on the Square
Another Classic of Western Literature takes the stage at Theatre on the Square on Mass Ave as part of the 2009 indyFringe Theatre Festival. This is Heartland Actors Repertory Theater first foray into fringe since they were founded a few years back, and they took the idea of Fringe to heart. This comedy is all about pushing boundaries and crossing lines.
Starring Chuck Goad and Sam Fain in a father/son relationship that reveals itself to be rather sick and twisted. The story follows a CEO willing to sacrifice his own son as a way to climb on top of the economic downturn. With a special guest appearance by God, portrayed by Rich Komenich, this indyFringe show is indeed another “Classic” as it attempts to capture our modern times with irreverent comedy.
Another Classic of Western Literature is not a bit ridiculous, it is totally ridiculous! But it is also completely aware of itself. Nothing is off limits in this show, including the play itself. Goad and Fain are wonderful together in their meeting of white and blue collar. The energy they share builds and builds as they plunge head first into disgusting, foul, totally out of control humor that is hilarious.
This play is “stark raving magnificent” as it goes where you least expect it to. With surprise after surprise, their is never a dull moment in Heartland Actors Repertory Theater’s first Fringe attempt. I would say they were wildly successful.
All these great reviews
You should do yourself a favor and see this show!!!
you have three more chances:
Wednesday, August 26, 7:30 pm
Saturday, August 29, 6:00 pm
Sunday, August 30, 7:30 pm
Theatre on the Square - Mainstage
Thanks so much for posting these! I've been excited to see this show since closing Much Ado About Nothing where the playwright and I shared some stage time. He's a hilarious guy and I was sure his play would be too. Glad to see these reviews it's getting.
See you Sat. Matt.
Sunday 23 August 2009: Another Classic of Western Literature, HART at TOTS (stage 1) (IFF)
Written by Matthew Roland and directed by Michael Shelton, this is the Actors' Equity portion of the 2009 Fringe. Charles Goad plays Total Bastard Sackett Hedgecock, the CEO of a large company of mostly faceless grunts. One of these, not even on the regular payroll, is Danny (Sam Fain), called up from the IT department in the basement to the 70+th floor to be grilled by Hedgecodk. Like General Halftrack querying his driver, the CEO wants to know "what do the men say about me?" But he has an ulterior motive; the board has directed that he take the fall (literally) for the company's recent decline, and he's looking for someone to defenestrate in his place.
Then God intervenes (Rich Komenich).
The writing is sharp and laugh-provoking - and a bid ribald. Hedgecock is not someone you would want at your garden party. But the ending (not set in the executive suite) is disconnected in more than setting - it's hard to see how it relates to the rest of the story, and leaves one feeling deflated because the mood has been broken. That dropped this piece down to an A-. Don Jamaica plays two minor roles.
Awarding checkmarks for this show is tough. I couldn't do it when the lights went up, and I still can't. Goad and Fain do fine work, but neither seems credible in his role. So, honorable mentions for them, and also for Komenich.
Two more performances: Saturday at 6:00 and Sunday at 7:30. Recommended, despite my reservations.
Joe, it is an honor to be reviewed by you. And that's no damn bull. Thanks for seeing the show.
The ending is wack - but it just seemed perfect when I wrote it. It came before a lot of the rest of the play. Nobody loves it- but it sometimes works with the crowd and, again, just made sense in my mind to be the right closer. And Don Jamaica won't do the show without it ...
This was without a doubt (well, maybe that's a bit strong, lets go with "I'm pretty positive") the best thing I've seen at the Fringe. LOVED it. Bizarre as hell and I'm sure not everybody's thing. I really didn't want to make yet another trip downtown tomorrow but I may need to see this one more time. Myself + friends sitting with me were close to tears several times, especially once we finally caught on to the whole slightly-off word thing.
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