Things that go ‘Bump in the Night’

Bump in the Night – Tales of Monsters and Fools (Hollywood Fringe 2016) sets up as a parody of those annoying supernatural reality shows such as Monster Quest, Finding Bigfoot, Destination Truth or Ghost Hunters. The team on this venture looking for the werewolf-arachnid of East Hamburg, New Jersey is a jumble of personalities right out of the Kardashians and Big Brother. There’s the pushy-driven, alpha scrag Addison (Maggie Rubin), the blissed-out transcendental Bailey (Alexis Brandt), the runway babe Dakota (Esther Eden), the hard-nosed Campbell (Delaney Smeal) and their long-suffering tech Emerson (Leslee Crisman).

Entering the theatre audience members were given flashlights and told they would provide the light for the actors. But as soon as the show started, it was plain to see that the stage was lit, if dimly, so there was no purpose to the flashlights what-so-ever.

And here was a foretaste of things to come, for the show would prove to offer no “bumps in the night”, no “tales of monsters,” and no “monsters.”

What this show did have a considerable amount of was nothing.

Plenty of it too.

Bump in the Night consisted of actresses running across stage shouting at each other, with no effort made to allow those watching the opportunity to get to know these characters or care about them.

Rather than a parody of supernatural reality shows, the production developed into…. Well, actually it developed into nothing. Then the piece just abruptly concludes with the sudden announcement by the cast to the audience that the show was actually about the “monsters” each woman carried within herself: Fear, addiction, the heartbreak of Psoriasis, being unable to say if it were live, or Memorex, not knowing what to do for a Klondike bar?

By this point most of the audience had long since dropped the flashlights into their laps, and if they were like me, were just sitting there aching for the vampire spider to appear and suck dry the husk of every one on stage.

This show was a disservice to the audience.

More so because there seemed to be some talent up there on the stage, especially in Brandt, but for some reason nobody thought that it was necessary to have a well-structured play with a theme and point of view.

The werewolf-arachnid of East Hamburg, New Jersey never shows up.

He was smarter than the audience.

Bump in the Night: Tales of Monsters and Fools at the Ensemble Theatre. (Click HERE for more scheduling and tickets)

Running time: eternity.

And here it is, the first of the Fringe: EAR WAX.

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. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest’s stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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