‘Beowulf’ One Man, Approximately 10,000 Words, One Amazing Revelation

By Ernest Kearney — I see the barest of stages: nondescript chair, nondescript glass…half full of nondescript water. Some token of a set would help, I think.

John Heimbuch wanders, literally wanders onto the stage and he is pretty nondescript himself: slacks, Standard Shoes, Ross Dress for Less shirt. Some effort towards a modicum of a costume would help, I think.

Then Heimbuch begins reciting the ancient epic of Beowulf, — one of the greatest works of literature humanity possesses, a work glutted with heroic imagery and legendary exploits — and as he fills the confines of the Broadwater Studio near to bursting with the voluminous and luminous language of this Old English epic poem I think: “Well screw the sets and costume!”

This is a bare bones production with the barest of bones conceivable. All Heimbuch brings to the stage is a startling mastery of the language and the storytelling skills to rival those of any seanchaidhe, bard, griot, hakawati or kobzar of old.

Working from a superb script by Playwright Charlie Bethel, (highly regarded for his adaptations of classic works such as The Odyssey, Call of the Wild and others) Heimbuch handles the meticulous and unforgiving demanding language with a skill and dexterity that is breathtaking. Heimbuch takes us back to a time before CGI, before algorithmic video editing, before digital projections and reminds us all of the power of the human voice.


A very bright, and very well-deserved

Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolution


Beowulf playing at Hollywood Fringe Festival 2022


Additional Information
ADAPTED BY: Charlie Bethel
PERFORMED BY: John Heimbuch
DIRECTED BY: Amy Rummenie

The Broadwater Studio,
1078 Lillian Way, Los Angeles, CA 90038



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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