‘Blood Pig’ — Black Comedy in Need of a Transfusion

By Ernest Kearney — I’m not sure if Playwright Devin Arnold has watched a little too much League of Gentlemen or not anywhere near enough. He may not even have a clue what I’m talking about should he read this —…

What? That dog of a movie with Sean Connery and Dr. Jekyll and everybody on the Nautilus, and…

No! That’s the 2003 box office flop The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I’m referring to the 1999 BBC Two program League of Gentlemen, that most Americans are cruelly unaware of and which is arguably the most surreal TV series ever to corrode broadcasting’s airwaves. The League, which began in the 1997 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is a skillfully crafted very funny show that makes your skin crawl.

I bring up this series because Arnold is certainly trying to walk a very similar line.

Blood Pig is a “bromanatic” comedy between the in-charge Vince (Jerry Campisi) and the inexperienced nerdy Devin (Chazz Christian) and tries to be a chuckle-fest despite the fact that Vince has kept the scantily clad Devin chained to a pillar in his basement for a couple of years, using his blood during each lunar cycle for a black art ritual in which he becomes possessed by Satan (Or some other demonic headliner.)

Into this situation stumbles Detective Michaels (Idrees Degas) who during an investigation into complaints of strange going-ons in Vince’s house, ends up a scantily clad third-wheel chained alongside the jealous Devin.

To ensure the “course of true love” runs less smoothly, Jeanette (Jennifer Sherer) fellow demon worshipper, patricidal redhead and Vince’s girlfriend appears on the scene much to Devin’s annoyance.

League of Gentleman accomplished a superb and unlikely fusion of Monty Python with the Hostile film franchise.

Blood Pig attempts to don the mantle of a very funny, very black comedy and fails.

Arnold does throw up some interesting notions — a talent show, a love duet, etcetera — and there are clever lines; unfortunately, the playwright has not put the work into the script.

Black comedies succeed when full attention is given to each half of the genre, here that has not been done, so neither a horror nor comic environment has been adequately realized.

Adding to the difficulties, Director Troy Whitaker hasn’t worked his actors or the show into any semblance of cohesion.

Christian is performing a skit, Campisi delivers his lines full frontal to the audience, Degas yells about 90 percent of his dialogue, and Sherer’s dialogue sags from lack of any structure.
In this attempt, Producer Adam Bradshaw and all those involved have failed.

However, to their credit, they certainly “Failed Big.” Yes, their ambitions were in excess of their abilities, but that’s the method for improving those abilities.

For that


bronze ribbon - Fringe Festival

‘Blood Pig’

Played During the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2022


Learn More at bloodpigplay.com


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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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