Murderous, Muddled and Merry Mayhem in a “Pit of Goblins”

By Ernest Kearney — Last year, Mitchell Bisschop’s reworking of Madison Avenue icons into the Citizen Kane homage of I Can Hear You Now, demonstrated he was writer/performer of both talent and a sterling comic sensibility.   This year’s Pit of Goblins reveals a far more twisted aspect to Bisschop. A writer/performer of talent, yes; just one you may not want to leave your children alone with.

Wayne (Bisschop) is a “visionary killer,” someone who like David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”), Anthony Sowell, and the English artist Richard Dadd (The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke – which inspired the song by the band Queen), is driven to commit his murders by the dictate of “voices.”

In Wayne’s case, he is already a successful serial killer, who’s assured, by a malignity of goblins living in the depths of a pit, that his homicidal ways will go unnoticed by the police provided he supplies them (the goblins) with monthly kills.

Bisschop’s attempt here is ambitious in the extreme; an effort to hold up a fun house mirror to capture the deformed features of the society we presently live in, which is ruled over by the most deformed goblin of them all.

Bisschop’s Wayne, outside of his murderous pastime, is a hard-working “joe” who loves his family and chafes under the demands of the domineering goblins for indiscriminate slaughter.

“I kill with a purpose,” he insists, “Like the Grim Reaper or the government.”

Bisschop employs music videos (directed by Montana Bertoletti), a “killer montage” (edited by Greg Reitman), and animation (David Finch and  Tom Borowski); and introduces the character of a befuddled local sheriff who dreams of success as a country western singer.

Unfortunately the videos, like the overall production, need trimming and more precision.

Black comedy is a demanding genre, as can be gauged in the success or failure of such works as The Loved One, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad, Cold Turkey, The Bed Seating Room, Man Bites Dog, Shaun of the Dead and Lord Loves A Duck. Silver Medal (via The TVolution)

Pit of Goblins while unwieldy and unfocused is also assuredly ambitious and entertaining. And for that –


Pit of Goblins

playing during The Fringe at

The Complex Hollywood (Ruby Theatre )

6476 Santa Monica Blvd

For Complete Show Information:

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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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