Recalling Anthony the Great in “The Tomb”

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017 imageBy Ernest Kearney — The Tomb by Ed Sharrow is an encapsulated tale of Anthony the Great, also called Anthony of Egypt, who was a 4th century Christian mystic.

Sometimes erroneously referred to as the first “monk”; which he was not.

Sometimes erroneously referred to as the first “hermit”; which he was not.

What Anthony did do was to take the life of the ascetic to new extremes.

He was the first of the Christian mystics to truly go into the “wilderness,” inhabiting a cave—some say a tomb—for thirteen years from around 270 CE on.

His imperviousness to hunger and thirst, and his facing down of the cavalcade of demons sent to torment him are standard parts of the early Christian mythos.

Sharrow has produced his own play and this may have worked against him, as he seems to have relied on the work being enough to carry the full weight of the theatrical experience.

Hollywood Fringe Festival-2017-TombIt can’t.

Adrian Burks as Anthony and Charles Gonzales as assorted others offer little in the way of dimension in their performances.

Worse, director Kevin F. Story seems not to have imagined any style to the production or even taken the simplest steps to establish the reality of its dramatic arena.

Now, my grandmother was a deranged spelunking octogenarian who dragged me down into caverns, potholes and subterranean systems the way other kids were taken to Disneyland by their Grannies.
I know caves.

Caves are magical.

We didn’t need to see the back walls of the theater or the chalk drawings on the walls (Story’s sole effort at creating a reality.)  The entire play could have used dim and isolated lighting to convey a cave’s interior.  This would have allowed for a variety of wonderful theatrics to effect the demons come to torment Anthony.

But no.

There wasn’t even an attempt to show the interior light of the cave dimming when the huge stone used to block its entrance was rolled into place.  (Part of Austin Schumacher’s sound design.)

Even simple means were not employed, such as having Burks in the darkness change his costume to more ragged states to denote the passage of time.bronze ribbon - Fringe Festival

Just having Burks use make up over his so-very-modern tattoos would have been nice, but again no.

The director and playwright, it seems, just didn’t take this production very seriously.

So why should an audience.


♦     ♦     ♦

The Tomb

Playing During the Fringe at

Complex Theatres

6468 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038

For Schedule and Tickets Learn More at

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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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