Rodney Gardiner – A Miracle in ‘Smote This, A Comedy About God…And Other Serious $H*T’

By Ernest Kearney  —  “At a Caribbean funeral, grief is to the Holy Ghost what an 8-ball is to Rick James…”

This is one of the lines from Rodney Gardiner’s one-man show about the crisis of faith he experienced after his father’s death, and the transition he and his family were faced with after his father’s illness. The need for treatment forced the family to leave the small idyllic Caribbean island he’d been raised on for the Miami Beach of 1980; a time when cocaine, drug dealers, refugees, bad cops, and riots turned the Florida city into Hell, only with nicer beaches.

Gardiner describes his fall from religion into a deeper spirituality during this period of his life with great humor and sincerity, and I wish I had jotted down a few more examples of that.

The reason I didn’t is that I was utterly and completely bedazzled by Gardiner’s performance.  In his bio, Gardiner claims to be “a recovering Shakespearean actor.”

Now after reading one too many resumes where a young actress claims to have played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Hedda in Hedda Gabler and Virginia in Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf, please excuse my hesitance in accepting such a statement at face value.

Platinum Medal

My bad. Only by having spent a decade at Ashland, Oregon’s Shakespeare Festival could an actor develop the kind of chops Gardiner displays in his performance.  The craft of acting is a difficult balance between the dynamic and the delineated, between power and control.  The best actors learn to master riding the tornado.

Gardiner manages it bareback. 

A Platinum Medal well deserved….


Smote This is playing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2023
The Broadwater in Hollywood.


For Hollywood Fringe Festival Details, Smote This Show Information and Tickets
Click HERE.

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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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