The Genius of “Hercules Insane” at the Fringe

By Ernest Kearney  —  The School of Night and its Artistic Director, Christopher Johnson can always be counted on to present an audience with a work that is wonderfully wild and totally rooted in solid theatrics.

In the past two Fringes, that was demonstrated in their Punch and Judy and The Faggot King or The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward II, and it is, definitely, on display in this year’s Hercules Insane by Lucias Annaeus Seneca. 

Done in high Roman style, the play relates the suffering of Hercules (Jason Britt) at the hands of the ever-jealous Juno (Dawn Alden).

Johnson and Producing Partner Jen Albert, who is also the fight choreographer, fill the stage with violence, slaughter, monsters and a profusion of phallic members; leaving the stage piled with bodies and coated in blood.

Is it for everyone?

Probably not.

But one thing you can be sure of when approaching a School of Night production: you’ll never be bored.   One of the added treats to this staging is director Johnson’s preshow spiel inPlatinum Medal which he lays out the early history of theatre and Seneca’s contributions to it.  That was worth the price of admission in and of itself.

For pure artistry and outrageous originality: a PLATINUM MEDAL.


♦    ♦    ♦


Hercules Insane

is Playing During The Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018


The Complex Hollywood
6476 Santa Monica Blvd

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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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