Amy Stiller in Farce The Increased Difficulty of Concentration
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Hailed as "the best musical of this century" by Ben Brantley of The New York Times and "the funniest musical of all time" by Entertainment Weekly, The Book of Mormon won nine Tony Awards -- including Best Musical -- in its first year on Broadway. Now the national touring production is back at the Pantages for a second round of hilarity. Written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with Robert Lopez, the Tony-winning co-creator of Avenue Q, this musical comedy is a show that The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has called "a crowning achievement. So good it makes me angry." Learn More
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Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Sheldon R.
view more less of this review
I thought the acting, especially the lead, was quite good. the script was evidently intended to be absurd; which it was. As soon as I figured out that we were not supposed to make sense of the thing except on the most elimentary level; I sat back and watched the performers.
Quotes & Highlights
“Director Alex Lippard has assembled an able cast, and the results are often funny…playwright Vaclav Havel is unique…A conventional sex comedy grafted onto a philosophical farce”-LA WEEKLY
“This seldom seen absurdist comedy by Vaclav Havel…includes some funny, dizzying images of modern theories gone mad”.-Don Shirley, LA CITY BEAT
Featuring Amy Stiller (Day Trippers, Cable Guy, Zoolander) as Dr Betty Balthazar, the daughter of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, best known for her role as Gloria on King of Queens.
In this fast-paced comedy written in 1968 by Czech dissident Vaclav Havel, Dr. Eduard Hummel, a sociologist, is home nursing a cold when he is visited by a team of government researchers. Led by Dr. Betty Balthazar, they attempt to analyze Hummel’s personality using an Artificial Intelligence machine named Puzuk. Throughout the experiment, the sex crazed Hummel strings along his wife, mistress, and young student in a series of sexual indiscretions, creating a comic whirlwind of jealous women and slamming doors. When the Puzuk machine breaks down, Hummel cracks under pressure, and the emotions he has been repressing behind his intellectual, academic facade coming spilling out in a hilarious and chilling climax.
First performed in Prague in 1968, this production by The Next Arena marks the play’s West Coast Premiere of this new translation. Playwright Vaclav Havel, 72, has written over 20 plays. He was the most famous political dissident in Czechoslovakia and later served as first President of the Czech Republic for ten years. His best known play in America is The Memorandum.
Alex Lippard directs. He resides in New York City, where is the Artistic Director of Friendly Fire. Alex’s December 2008 Friendly Fire production of O’Neill’s A Touch of the Poet starring Daniel J. Travanti and Ellen Crawford was chosen by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top three revivals of the 2009 nyc theater season. Also at Friendly Fire, he directed Hecuba starring Kristin Linklater and ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore. Recent credits include the Off-Broadway premieres of The Last Word starring Travanti and Sake with the Haiku Geisha at Perry St, Theater, Off-off-Broadway: Cupid and Psyche at Altered Stages and Frankie, The Gold Standard and Monsterface, all at Irish Arts Center. Alex won an Overall Excellence in Directing Award for for his direction of Moonchild starring two-time Emmy winner Heather Tom at the N.Y. International Fringe Festival.
The presenting company is The Next Arena, a five-year-old nonprofit ensemble of actors, writers, & directors who have been called “a young troupe to watch” by the LA Weekly. TNA brought you such critically successful comedies as Gogol’s Gamblers and The Angry Guy In The Pink Hat, and now they offer up this sex farce with an intellectual, absurdist bent for your enjoyment.
The cast includes Steve Hamill, Kristina Hayes, Bobby Reed, Scott Rognlien, Amy Stiller and Sarah Wolter. Associate producer: Jason Frost. Sound design: Sloe Slawinski. Lighting design: Matt Richter. Set design: Frederica Nascimento. Costume design: Shon Le Blanc.