Fun Family Festival is a GO!

Posted: June 30th, 2011 | No Comments »


This review by Deborah Klugman was originally posted at LA Weekly.

Creating theater that can delight both preschoolers and seniors — and everyone in between — is tough to do, but this talented ensemble of artists manages just that with enormously funny Shakespeare parody Titus the Clownicus. One of four such under-an-hour pieces written by Angela Berliner, it’s a toss of character, theme and plot elements from Shakespeare’s second-tier gore fest Titus Andronicus, with song and dance, puppetry, soap bubbles, fabulously colorful costumes (by Ann Closs Farley) and imaginative props. Served up with sophistication and panache under Justin Zsebe’s direction, with a set designed by Francois-Pierre Couture, this suitable-for-children scenario begins when General Titus (Michael Dunn) of the Red Nose clowns defeats the Green Nose faction and captures their Queen Tamora (Jessica Hanna), a smoldering backstabber who charms the king Sillyninus (Brian Allman), then instigates dastardly plots against Titus and his family. Though Berliner transmutes the horrors of the original — Tamora’s sons attack Titus’ daughter Laughinia (Laura Castle) with gooey peanut butter — her burlesque preserves the moral of the story, that lust for power begets evil. (Also, unlike the original, the play ends on an up note.) The show plays in rep with the equally original Hamlet, Prince of Puddles (“Frailty, thy name is Mommie,” declares a weepy Hamlet, played by Brian Kimmet); King O’Leary, set in the Old West; and Macbeth and the Monster, in which Shakespeare’s tragedy about a Scottish king becomes a scary bedtime story spun out by a single mom (Berliner). Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Sat.-Sun., noon and 2 p.m.; call for schedule; thru July 31. (Deborah Klugman)

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Peek Behind the Poster

Posted: June 20th, 2011 | No Comments »


Find out the who the real monster is June 11 at 12 o'clock

Meet Andrew Leman, the artist behind the Fun Family Festival poster and logo. Above, you can see the evolution of Macbeth’s monster. Looks like what ends up being a gripping graphic started out as an action figure.

Posted below are some animals who auditioned for the buffalo and chicken jobs but didn’t get cast.

What’s your favorite cartoon of all time?

What’s Opera, Doc?

What do you read, watch, or look at every day?

Most days I read or at least skim the website Boing Boing. I find much of what’s posted there quite interesting.

What are you working on right now?

The Arkham Sanitarium sanity assessment and diagnostic kit. What started off as a goofy idea has become a fabulously complicated and comprehensive goofy product with elaborate calculating wheels, a board game, six decks of cards, inkblots, and custom-made pencils, among other things.

Popsicle, Fugicle, or Creamsicle?

Definitely Fudgsicle.

What are your favorite works of art?

Hommage by Leopoldo Maler

Paintings by Lyonel Feininger and Hugh Ferriss, sculptures by Paul Manship and Donald De Lue.

Graphics and lettering by Chris Ware.

What’s your favorite music of all time?

Possibly Aubade from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev or maybe Brahms’ Rhapsody 79 No. 2, but I’d love to hear it fully orchestrated. Also What the Thunder Said as played by Duke Ellington’s All Star Road Band is pretty great, as is Glenn Miller’s String of Pearls

What’s the most fun you have ever had in a theater?

Noises Off in London with Sean Branney in 1988.

Where can we see more of your designs/work? or or

Take a look at the full poster on our Fun Family Festival Event Page

Fun Family Festival of Tragedy Ovation Recommended

Posted: June 15th, 2011 | No Comments »

Whoo hooo! The votes are in for Hamlet, Prince of Puddles. Ovation voters have selected it as one of the top overall productions. It is not an award. It is just a recommendation. Sort of like the GO! that LA Weekly gave us. But it comes with this very classy icon.

World Premiere Week at the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy

Posted: June 10th, 2011 | No Comments »

We did it! The Fun Family Festival of Tragedy is up and running. We have one more show to open this weekend. Don’t miss our exciting world premiere of Macbeth and the Monster this Saturday at 12 o’clock. The line-up this weekend is below…

Once Macbeth and the Monster hits the stage then our master plan will be in full effect. You can choose from four different all ages plays to see each weekend. The calender is rotating so go to our website for the Fun Family Festival schedule. See you at the Bootleg!

The Play’s the Thing, Kids

Posted: June 1st, 2011 | No Comments »

This event description by Skylaire Alfvegren was originally posted at LA Weekly.

Children’s Theater The Play’s the Thing, Kids Do you believe that subversive theater should be available and comprehensible to people of all ages? Do you feel your 7-year-old is overdue an introduction to the works of the Bard? L’Enfant Terrible, a collection of theater people committed to introducing the wee ones to Shakespeare’s “hilarious tragedies,” presents Los Angeles’ first ever Fun Family Festival of Tragedy. “Whether you are young at heart or a hard-hearted youngster, say goodbye to your old expectations of children’s theater,” they say. With an emphasis on emotion and familial drama rather than death, four of Shakespeare’s masterworks are smooshed out in kiddie-friendly form, becoming MacBeth and the Monster, King O’Leary, Hamlet: Prince of Puddles, and Titus the Clownicus. Adults performing as kids, for kids are but miniature adults. Sunday audiences are invited to participate in a free theater workshop.


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Local Theater Company Offers Shakespeare for All Ages

Posted: June 1st, 2011 | No Comments »

This feature story by Muffy Marracco was originally posted at Echo Park Patch.

Shakespeare’s plays fall into two categories: comedies and tragedies. The former typically ends with a marriage – the latter ends with a death. So how then do you adapt the tragedies in a fun way for an all ages show? L’Enfant Terrible has the answer. This local theater company is staging their adaptations of four different Shakespeare classics during their Fun Family Festival.

The festival runs throughout June and offers enjoyable adaptations intended for everyone. Adapted by Angela Berliner, the plays “frame these stories as being about families and emotions,” as their web site says. Gone are the tragic endings and bloody outcomes. Hamlet is no longer the prince of Denmark – he is now the “prince of puddles.” King Lear is set in the California Gold Rush. Macbeth fears monsters under the bed. And Titus Andronicus now features dueling circus clowns. Justing Zsebe, the director of the pieces, wants the plays to be “as universal as possible.” They are intended for all ages to enjoy, and though there are references to the original Shakespeare, L’Enfant Terrible “take as many liberties as we want,” he says.

Producer Seth Compton says that L’Enfant Terrible wants “theater that connects with the neighborhood.” The company has found a performing home at the Bootleg Theater at 2220 Beverly Boulevard. The space offers live music and performance. The Fun Family Festival will run on weekend days in June. There are two shows on Saturday and one on Sunday. You can purchase a special Quarto four-pack to see all the shows for just $40 for adults and $20 for kids. L’Enfant Terrible supports itself through ticket sales, grants and donations, which are all important because this company makes sure to pay their players a union wage.

The Echo Park community, says Compton, has been supportive with ad buys and other donations. The neighborhood is also “very diverse,” notes Zsebe, which is something that the company values and hopes to honor with their work. L’Enfant Terrible hopes to inspire and connect with their audience. They offer free workshops on Sunday afternoons after the show. Saturday afternoon theatergoers can get a “peek behind the curtain,” says Compton. And those who show up for the early show on Saturday in their pajamas get a discount.

Zsebe says that the shows are intended for everyone – from “grandparents to parents to kids or yourself.” The company is “nimble” and “ready to tour,” says Compton, so get your fill of the Fun Family Festival while you can.  For more information, visit their web site at

What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

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Boomtown Was Built in a Day

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | No Comments »

Our set for King O’Leary is constructed with much more attention for design and craftsmanship than many of the actual buildings built during the California Gold Rush. Scenic designer François-Pierre Couture and set builder Brian Ludmer came to the theater today and brought us Boomtown!

In 1848 gold was discovered in California. Six years later the non-native population had exploded by 20 times! “Boom towns” popped up across the Golden State. This rapid growth resulted in poorly constructed houses, mob rule, vigilante justice and considerable squalor. Conditions for miners were hard. They lived in log cabins and tents and worked in all kinds of weather suffering incredible hardships.

In our story of King O’Leary, Boomtown is the name of the town where the miners mine and the streets are paved with gold. We based the character of King O’Leary on the highly eccentric and slightly loony Emperor Norton. He was a real person who lived in San Francisco and called himself the “Emperor of the United States and the Protector of Mexico.” Of course, he wasn’t actually an Emperor but some people would humor him and treat him with honor and reverence. He even issued money in his name and some shop owners would accept it as currency just to be nice.

It would be right-nice of you to bring your currency on down to the Bootleg Theater this Saturday, June 4th, at high noon (12 o’clock). Above you’ll see a sketch by François-Pierre of what it will look like when it’s all finished. Below you can see what we have so far. Click here for a full calendar of the Fun Family Festival (of Tragedy) running through July 31.

The scenic designer surveys his city.

Say hello to Hamlet

Posted: May 27th, 2011 | No Comments »

Meet Brian Kimmet the princely puddle maker in Hamlet, Prince of Puddles. You can also see him as Macbeth in Macbeth and the Monster and Eddie Bastino of Bastardistan in King O’Leary – all part of the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy.

What’s behind your best work?

A phenomenal ensemble and a genius director.

Name three characteristics of every creative person you have met.

Sensitive, expressive and crazy

What would you put in a time capsule if you were to open it 50 years from now on 2061?

A Twinkie. I hear they’ve got an incredible shelf life.

What’s your favorite word or letter?

Until an age I’m ashamed to admit, I thought LMNO was one letter. Cause when you sing the alphabet song, those four kind of all run together! So that’s my favorite.

What’s your favorite music of all time?

All time?! Jeez Louise! My grandpa playing the piano. He was a jazz pianist in the 30’s and even at 96 years old he could still tickle the ivories with the best of them.

What are you working on right now?

I am thrilled to be working with L’Enfant Terrible on the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy. I also host the show ‘The Morning After’ on There’s a new 5-minute episode every weekday covering everything you missed from the night before in TV & pop culture. It’s short, sweet and super fun.

Popsicle, Fugicle, or Creamsicle?

Creamsicle. Hands down.

You could check out the Morning After Show or you could meet Brian in person at the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy. Opening June 4 at the Bootleg Theater.

What is the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy?

Posted: April 29th, 2011 | No Comments »

We’re doing this thing.

The Fun Family Festival of Tragedy

What is it?

It is going to be a great family activity in Los Angeles. L’Enfant Terrible and the Bootleg theater are presenting a series of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies: King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Titus.

But this isn’t your grandma’s children’s theater. It’s going to be one of those awesome things to do in LA for kids and adults. Let’s break it down.

It’s Fun – Funny, foolish, wackadoo, whimsical.

For the whole Family – Those people in your life you have to do things with. They can be related to you or not. This is an event to come together and bring friends along too!

All in a Festival – It is a whole series. Usually theaters will present one play at a time. We’re doing four at once in the hopes that you come to the theater again and again. You have to buy tickets for each show seperately. But if you’re seeing more than one, we recommend buying a Fun Family Festival Pass.

Tragedies?! – Yes, we know. In tragedies the characters usually die. But we frame these stories as being about families and emotions. The characters struggle and have fears and face hardships.

But don’t worry. We promise to bring it all back to the beginning- the Fun part. We guarantee they will be fun. These vibrant and outrageous plays are filled with joy and love.

Come see for yourselves.

Buy Tickets for the Fun Family Festival

Meaningful Expression of Care

Posted: February 26th, 2011 | No Comments »

L’Enfant Terrible of the Month: Fred M. Rodgers; educator, minister, songwriter and television host. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the US. He won a Peabody Award as well as several Emmys. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and one of his sweaters is in the Smithsonian.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood began airing in 1968 and ran for 895 episodes. The year after it’s first broadcast, Fred M. Rogers appeared before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. He was there to try to dissuade the Senate from significantly cutting the funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (Hmmm, sounds familiar…) During his testimony he read the lyrics to one of the songs he wrote called “What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel.” What was the response? The chairman of the subcommittee, who was at first awkward and stand-offish, casually waived his hand and exclaimed “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s wonderful. Looks like you just earned the twenty million dollars.”

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a lady
And a boy can be someday a man.

What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel?
By Fred M. Rogers
© 1968