The Book of Liz: Wacky Comedy by Amy and David Sedaris at Costa Mesa Playhouse
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The last date listed for The Book of Liz was Sunday February 27, 2011 / 2:00pm.
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An accomplished actor, singer, comedian, clown, magician, puppeteer and ventriloquist, Karen Knotts… More
When one of the wittiest satirists of our time and his comedienne sister write a play together, you know it can’t be anything short of hilarious. Sister Elizabeth Donderstock has spent her entire life in a cloistered religious community called the Squeamish, where she created and single-handedly makes their famous cheese balls, both traditional and smoky — but when a sanctimonious new arrival convinces the sect’s leader to let him take over the cheese ball operation, Liz, feeling frustrated and unappreciated, leaves the compound for the first time to try her luck in the “real” world. Culture shock ensues — in the extreme.
Director Mike Brown says, “I was looking for a comedy to fill an open slot in the season’s schedule, and I have read very few scripts that made me laugh out loud as much as this one. The dialogue is hilarious and, while the play’s wackiness is somewhat over-the-top, I found an endearing truthfulness to the characters and their dilemmas. It should also be noted that, although the play pokes fun at the cloistered lifestyle and might be considered irreverent, it does not criticize religion at all. It is about people, extremely eccentric people, the kind of people I like the most.”
As the play’s authors give no background for their fictional religious community, Brown has created his own history of the Squeamish as an aid to the actors and in defining the look of the play. It deals with witch hunts, magic mushrooms and a visitation by an ethereal being in a strange ball of orange light, somewhat resembling a cheese ball. Of course, none of that history is actually in the play except as visual reference, but will be detailed in the program for anyone interested in reading it.
Originally written to be performed by four actors playing 15 characters, Brown has expanded the cast to six and assembled actors he has worked with before. "I needed people with specific skills, Brown says, “and fortunately I knew actors who had them.”