“Beyond Glory”— and an Appeal to the Fringe Community

By Ernest Kearney  — I make an effort to see all the international shows and those productions coming from other states to participate in the  Hollywood Fringe Festival early on in the festival.

This is because generally the individuals producing them miss out on the Office Hours and other events held in the weeks preceding the opening of the Fringe that are so essential to generating a “buzz” about their shows and connecting to the HFF community itself.

This year I discovered a few shows originating from points outside LA where low attendance was severely out of balance with high merit, the most recognizable symptom of “Late Arrival Syndrome.”

Productions such as Drought a lyrical Gaelic rendering of the #METOO movement by Irish performer Kate Radford and Made For Each Other, an East Coast offering, set me off hooting their praises with the doggedness of a Navajo medicine man trying to drive off the evil spirit of “No’meatin-seats.”

I was jubilant when both productions expressed the belief that my efforts had contributed to audiences finding them.

My efforts were less successful, I admit, in drawing attention to Clark Wade – A Jazzy Tragedy, a solid show with a sterling performance by Esquizito that deserved larger audiences than it drew.

But my greatest regret of this Fringe is having caught Steve Scott in Beyond Glory on its final performance.

I first saw Scott in HFF2017, where his performance in Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone’s The Last Testament of Richard M. Nixon was among the best of that Fringe.

Scott returned this year with Beyond Glory directed by Stefan Antoniuk and written by the actor Stephen Lang known for his appearances in Avatar (2009) and as the swaggering George Pickett in Gettysburg (1993).

Beyond Glory is a construction from the personal accounts of eight recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration.

Secret Honor-Steve Scott-Fringe 2017

Tvolution Platinum Award Winner Steve Scott

With their stories from World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War, the men are, fittingly, a diverse lot crossing over regional, age, class and race differences.

There’s the aged seadog, who escaped rural Southern poverty by enlisting in the navy and was on hand to bring down the first “Zero” during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

There’s the medic who recounts a night under fire in a Vietnam rice paddy with dying men calling from the darkness for their mothers.

There’s the veteran of World War II’s all-black “Buffalo” division who relates assaulting a hilltop in the Italian campaign.

Six of those recounting the stories, of the indescribable horrors that resulted in the medal being draped about their necks, are just “regular Joes,” but two tales are told by individuals whose service to their country continued into politics:

James B. Stockdale, after his aircraft was downed over Vietnam, endured seven years as a POW in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” and would be the running mate of H. Ross Perot in the presidential election of 1992;

Daniel Inouye served with the Army’s 442nd regiment comprised of all Japanese Americans. Inouye went on to become the first American of Japanese descent elected to the senate. He would lose his right arm in Italy in an action for which he would receive the Medal of Honor. The 442nd would finish the war as the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.

The work concludes with a rendering of that highest of homage to the brotherhood born of battle, Shakespeare’s St Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V.

Reworded to include the names of those whose tales were shared on the stage, it is an acknowledgment that the truest heroism is found not in the carnage of combat, but the willingness to sacrifice for others.

Scott’s presence on stage was a study of clarity as he shifted from one recipient to the next carving the distinction of each individual with the understated dynamics that attests to an actor’s mastery of his craft. His was a performance of the highest caliber.

The audience at the last performance of Beyond Glory must have agreed for we all rose from our seats to acclaim it.

All three of us.

I’ve met no one else in our community who saw Beyond Glory.

On its Fringe web site there were no reviews.

I left mine. But too late.

It is the responsibility of each production to engage the community and distribute its promo cards with diligence. As a longtime participant, I know this. Nevertheless I believe the Fringe organization must attempt to raise awareness within the Community of performers and productions originating outside of our state and nation.

Who doubts that essential to the continuation and growth of this endeavor, is to push both the consciousness and respect for our “June Jubilation of the Arts” beyond the limits of the avenues of Vine and Highland and the boulevards of Hollywood and Santa Monica?

One means of achieving this is by encouraging the local L.A. residents, who comprise the largest segment of that community to vigorously extend their support to those who have travelled from afar to share their talents and artistry with our city.

It must be resolved among us that any who come to our city as strangers find a community that welcomes them, and one, when they depart, they feel a part of.

After they’ve returned to their homes, we want them describing in amazement the community of artists and performers they found here, and of how openly that community embraced them.

This is the experience we want them sharing with the world, not that of three lone figures defying an empty theatre Platinum Medalwith cries of “Bravo!”

For Steve Scott and Beyond Glory —

A PLATINUM MEDAL.

 


 

Additional Company and Show Information:

https://www.redwoodproductions.co.uk/projects

 

Fringe Production Page:

http://hff19.org/6011

 


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.

Latest comments
  • Avatar

    I saw this and “drought” only because i was generously made an encore voter. The truth imho, is that there’s a Very large opportunity to connect not only wIth hundreds of Performers who participate in fringe, but experience some of the best work at fringe.

  • Avatar

    Thanks so much for pointing out the challenges faced by out of town artists coming to the Hollywood Fringe. And thanks for championing my play “made for each other.” We had five star reviews at Edinburgh fringe so we were bringing our “a” game, at great expense. we had a very hard time selling tickets, even with super reviews, platinum medal, and pick of Fringe. We’re glad we came, but can’t recommend this to our theater community in New York as a good place to bring their work.

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