Scared Fools New Stage Play Takes On Godzilla


There is a new stage play that takes on the "King of Monsters":

In 1956, a giant kaiju (monster) destroys Tokyo and sends seismic waves of fear, anger and ignorance through generations. Facts are questioned, history is alternatively written and modern politics is set against primal religion in this ferociously civilized cautionary tale of two nations coping with their own damaged legacies. Can humanity reckon with the monsters that rise against us, the ones that live within us all?
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Here is a review from LA Weekly:

Sacred Fools is hardly the first to have recognized the movie monster as an avatar for the real-life anxieties that boil beneath the surface of our collective imagination. But it may come as some surprise to students of creature horror to learn that the mother of all coping responses to what Susan Sontag once called the “unassimilable terrors that infect [our] consciousness” is 1956’s Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

Or so insists Akuma-shin, Kenley Smith’s outlandishly clever if sometimes wincingly on-the-nose Godzilla homage, now getting its world premiere on the Fools’ Broadwater Main Stage. Why the Americanization of Ishiro Honda’s 1954 kaiju classic, Gojira, should be held up as a primary palimpsest for the rampaging horrors of post-industrial capitalism is just one of the mysteries driving a play that ricochets between parodic mockumentary, whimsical alternative history, allusive movie-geek trivia game and moody metaphysical thriller.

And if the slipperiest of those questions is over what kind of beast is Akuma-shin (it literally translates as “demon-god”), that ambiguity provides much of the action’s poetic lift, beginning with the cancer-ravaged and mutilated figure of Billy Childers (Eddie Goines), luridly sporting prosthetic hooks where he once had arms. “I saw the monster,” he hoarsely croaks in what will be a recurring refrain over the evening by eyewitnesses, who are ultimately able to provide little in the way of clear description or documented proof of the creature’s existence. Akuma-shin apparently cannot be photographed and is known only by the apocalyptic devastation that it leaves in its Earth-shaking wake.

The only area of consensus seems to be that in 1956, Tokyo and 2 million of its residents perished in a fiery, radioactive conflagration that has gone down in history as “the incident.” But the lack of clear-cut, objective evidence also makes the event a political football that, 20 years later, is still being kicked around by TV pundits on programs like the 1976 PBS special that frames the play. Hosted by Nancy Dickerson (Stasha Surdyke), TV personalities Dr. Joyce Brothers (Libby Baker) and monster denier William F. Buckley Jr. (David Wilcox in an uncanny impersonation) debate Akuma-shim’s existence with the paraplegic survivor/radio reporter Mason (Tony DeCarlo) and a trio of celebrity literati promoting their own Akuma-shin books: Truman Capote (Amir Levi), Norman Mailer (Paul Parducci) and Yukio Mishima (Reuben Uy).

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