“Five Pieces of Paper” – A Tragic Tale Tragically Lost in Clutter

By Ernest Kearney — It was the sight of torch-wielding (1) marchers parading through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia chanting, “Jews shall not replace us,” in 2017 that inspired Moti Buchboot to tell the story of his Grandmother’s survival during the Holocaust in his one-man-cooking-puppet-Yiddish-cabaret-autobiographical-Mighty Mouse-homage-history lesson show, Five Pieces of Paper.

Buchboot is an exceedingly talented and personable presence on the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s  stage during this year’s HFF.

And his grandmother’s Chocolate Coconut Cake which he bakes throughout his tales is tasty.

But the impact and the story he wishes to tell us is lost under the Mountain of Unnecessary:

He begins to bake, he brings over a milk cart, assembles a coat rack, dons a Tevye costume, does an Andy Kaufman bit, disassembles the coat rack, drags the milk cart a-foot, sings a Yiddish song, re-assembles the coat rack, introduces a puppet, sings another Yiddish song, dis-assembles the coat rack, introduces another puppet, treats us to a very depressing slide show—

Buchboot has taken what could have been a very moving show and turned it into a Gallagher comedy act.

Which is a pity.

Buried beneath all the “creative” clutter are the five pieces of paper, from which the show takes its name, on which his grandmother recounted the horrors of the Nazis and her time in the camps.

These five pieces of paper are the only thing that the show requires.

The cooking set is acceptable because it was while his grandmother cooked that their relationship grew and flourished.

We don’t need puppets or cheesy fake beards or milk carts.

The drama is not in the props but the story.

The power is not in the stage pieces but the performance.

Buchboot has a lovely voice, and his singing of some seldom heard Yiddish classics was a joy, but he has buried both his talents and his grandmother’s poignant tale in a tomb of the unessential.Silver Medal (via The TVolution)

This is a show that could have used so much more “less.”

The show was BRONZE; Buchboot’s performance was GOLD, which equals out to –


Tiki torches (1) purchased at Walmart – what a pack of wankers.


For complete Five Pieces of Paper show information go to: http://hff19.org/5869

For the total lowdown on events, plays and fun happenings during Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019 (running 06/13/19 to 06/30/19) go to: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/


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 TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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