In a triumphant inaugural weekend, Sacred Fools Theatre Company opened it’s brand new space on Hollywood Theatre Row, with the world premiere of Past Time, a delightfully, quirky and heartwarming comedy written by Padraic Duffy and directed by Jeremy Aldridge.
Starring two of Sacred Fools and Los Angeles Intimate Theatre’s most beloved actors Leon Russom and French Stewart, Past Time is a “hilarious and touching love-letter to the theatre told with many, many, many painted unicorns…”
People, like things, are so full of colors. It’s remarkably easy to disregard the variety in the subtlety. How we might gently feather strokes of paint on the mane of a tiny unicorn figurine, for instance, is exactly how we might attend to the people we love, but usually don’t until it’s too late. In Past Time, however, because of one man’s obsession to find joy through his late wife’s love of unicorns, everyone directly and indirectly, gets a second chance.
An immature, Chris desperate to keep his girlfriend from leaving, convinces his grandfather James to go out on a date with her, as the “new” Chris who will say all of the right things that will make her fall back in love with him. In the meantime, James‘ candle-obsessed wife Delilah is over the rails about his best friend Lou who has opened a kiosk which sells plastic unicorns, right in front of her shop’s door, with a too coincidental, almost identical name. James just wants Chris to move out and be an adult. Delilah wants Lou to change the name of his kiosk. Meredith wants a guy she can be intimate with. And Lou desperately wants someone…anyone…to recognize, appreciate and love all the little details of his painted unicorns as deeply as he does so that he can finally honor his late wife. When everyone begins play-acting each other’s characters, relationships are rekindled in unexpected ways, creating one of the silliest, most hopeful (even randy) chain reactions. It is truly a light-hearted and spirited tear-jerker, with so much payoff.
“I don’t usually play this kind of role,” said Leon Russom in between show hugs and congratulations. French Stewart was all “humble pie.” Having put in two stunning performances filled with extraordinary vulnerability by Stewart and nimble comedic timing by Russom, the two lead actors could not have been better cast against one another as friends or appearing in a more deftly written script that is seamlessly directed. There is incredible symmetry and exquisitely inconspicuous detail in their respective performances that make the mundane absolutely uncommon.
Deeply emotional even in its whimsy, every single element of this production, every character, is perfectly crafted, staged and presented. One of the most emotionally satisfying plays you will experience this year – bar none.
In the plus column, to boot, is the astonishing upgrade of the Lillian Theatre. Be prepared to catch your breath. It is a thing to behold! Fresh and new and yet it feels like the Fools have always been there. It feels like home.
Starring Leon Russom as James, French Stewart as Lou, Ruth Silveira as Delilah, Josh Weber as Chris and Julia Griswold as Meredith.