By Ernest Kearney  —  Tomb borrows from Stephen King’s The Shining and George Lukas’ classic THX 1138.  There’s nothing wrong with that, except they haven’t borrowed the interesting parts. The play, instead, is like a first draft of an Outer Limits episode, which was later discarded. 

What was most egregious however about Tomb, which ran during this year’s Hollywood Fringe, was its failure to take what they were doing seriously.  A mystery in outer space but, on stage, cups of tea and medical items pantomimed poorly; exits from the scene involve just standing up against the wall. 

In addition: no program, nothing online either, neither who directed nor who the actors were.

I once saw a low-brow comedy that made me laugh myself sick.  I watched and re-watched the film to try to understand why this lightweight comedy –unlike the scores of others I had viewed– worked. I came to understand it was that “added inch.”

One scene had the heroes of the film sneak into a compound they shouldn’t be in, and I saw the thought process that had been exchanged between the script’s writers:


Okay so something in the compound chases them out.  Big

junk yard dog?  


Naw, it’s always a dog.  Geese will chase trespassers.  How   

about a goose? 


 Wait!  How about an ostrich?  An ostrich could chase them!


Ooohhh!  A flock of ostriches could go after their asses!

This odd, low budget film succeeded due to the filmmakers going an extra “inch.”   Soon I came to realize that the possibility of success in any creative venture simply came down to taking every idea or giving every aspect of the undertaking a little more thought, a little more effort, doing your best and then just a little more. 

An “inch” more.

Tomb fails in this.

No Award.

* * *

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Hollywood Fringe Festival

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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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