Words cannot even express how lucky/grateful I feel for all of the wonderful reviews that have been coming out about our little, strange, dark show.
Read our latest from Gia on the Move! Click the link or scroll below!
‘The Value of Moscow’: Hilariously Implausible, Wonderfully Absurd
By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
“There’s no place like home… to make you wanna kill somebody.”
What is the value of Moscow? Well, if one had to explain it, and they do try, we’ll just start with really smart theater.
Carrie Keranen makes her Sacred Fools mainstage directorial debut by organizing playwright Amy Dellagiarino’s fascinatingly simple, five-character play into a crisp, 65 minutes of beautifully, nonsensical hilarity.
This is one of the rare moments when I’ve sat in a theater and felt a little bit remorseful of such an abrupt ending. The story could absolutely entertain a second act. But as it stands, the soap-serio finale has a to be continued feeling that leaves it to the audience to imagine what might occur in the coming moments for three siblings on the verge of histrionic implosion.
Three adult sisters, Emily, Rose and Clara, whose lives have fallen apart are moving in together during the onset of a blizzard, bitching all the way about everything from unpacking techniques to cooking choices. Between bouts of angry denial, accusation, dumb, barely romantic fantasy, lies, getting drunk on a found bottle of vodka, and repeated pleas to get along, they decide to order out from the only pizza delivery open in town. What ensues is a practical Three-Stooges style, slapstick turn of events after the pizza delivery guy gets accidentally shot and an angry boyfriend unexpectedly shows up.
Extremely diverting, The Value of Moscow, playing its world premiere at the Broadwater Second Stage is endowed with as always perfect light and sound design by Matt Richter and additionally costumes and props by Linda Muggeridge. Aaron Francis tops this production with a truly inventive scenic design that extends well into the hallway outside the theater that gives this production a fair amount of breath for the short, light, comedy it is.
Starring Julie Bersani, Madeleine Heil, Devin Sidell, Gregory Guy Gordon and Andres Paul Ramacho. Featuring understudies Tiffany Cole, Heather Klinke, Nikki Mejia, Brendan Broms and Ryan Gowland.
So well-directed an acted. If there were any mistakes, they easily blend into the evening’s insanity where mishap piles atop mishap to implausible effect. But we go along with it because it’s just plain wonderfully, absurd as hell.
Okay... maybe I cried a little. (Okay. I did.)
Read our amazing review in the freakin' LA Times! Click the link or scroll below!
Review: Barbs fly among sisters in 'The Value of Moscow,' a modern-day riff on Chekhov
By PHILIP BRANDES
Thanksgiving inevitably invites appreciation for the warm fuzzies that nurture family bonds. For some, it might be a lovingly prepared holiday feast; for others, their adorable kitten photos posted on Facebook.
But for the trio of estranged sisters at the center of “The Value of Moscow,” Amy Dellagiarno’s new black comedy from Sacred Fools, the ties that bind turn out to be less sugar-frosted: an attempted suicide, an imploding marriage and perhaps a homicide or two.
Each of the squabbling siblings has a different reason for moving into their seedy new shared apartment, but they have one thing in common: none of them wants to be there. The oldest — 30something Emily (Tiffany Cole, substituting for Devin Sidell) — is a mediocre writer whose current fiction is that her husband “just needs space.” The youngest, pouty suicidal rebel Clara (Julie Bersani), proclaims their new digs make her want to kill herself, to which Emily retorts, “Yeah, but you already want to kill yourself, so that opinion doesn’t mean anything.” It’s left to the middle sister, perky peacemaker Rose (Madeleine Heil), to try to smooth over the three sisters’ perpetually ruffled feathers.
With hilarious deadly accuracy, playwright Dellagiarno’s snappy dialogue captures the kind of put-downs and barbed comebacks only siblings who know one another all too well can use to pick at one another’s psychic scabs.
Naturally, long-concealed painful truths get unpacked along with personal possessions. If the setup seems formulaic at first, Dellagiarno quickly steers things into unexpected surreal territory with the respective entrances and exits of a sad-sack middle-age pizza delivery man (Ryan Gowland, substituting for Gregory Guy Gordon) and Carla’s hot-tempered ex-boyfriend (Andres Paul Ramacho).
A self-aware reference links the siblings’ plight to the unfulfilled Moscow dreams of “The Three Sisters” (hence the play’s title), with even more on-the-nose adherence to Chekhov’s rule that a gun introduced in one act must be fired in the second.
Carrie Keranen’s staging honors the playwright’s intended accelerated pacing, a key factor in plunging us into the story’s rapidly unraveling events; however, at times, the artificially hurried delivery comes at the expense of the marvelously witty, literate banter.
Nevertheless, with its quirky mix of realistic family dynamics and absurdist humor, “The Value of Moscow” offers terrific value in keeping with the Sacred Fools mission to present new works at rock-bottom prices.
‘The Value of Moscow’
Where: The Broadwater Second Stage, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Dec. 8
Running time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
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“The Value of Moscow” at Sacred Fools
Paul Myrvold, Paul Myrvold's Theatre Notes
I like my comedy black, and the blacker the better. Amy Dellagiarino’s new play, The Value of Moscow, now playing at Sacred Fools, fits my predilection like an Armani suit. The relevance of the title to the action spools out with satisfying coyness, when three sisters enter from the snowy cold to unpack forty or more boxes of stuff into the apartment they are to occupy. It is clear at the outset that these women have issues, both personal and sororal. The effervescent Rose (Madeleine Heil), a first grade teacher, attempts to organize the unpacking with forced cheerfulness, in the face of glowering sister Emily (Tiffany Cole on the evening I attended), and morose Clara (Julie Bersani). Why are these ill-fitting siblings moving in together? Each suffers from the results of individual crises. Emily is a writing-blocked novelist taking a break from her marriage. Clara is just out of hospital after a botched suicide attempt. And Rose tries her darnedest to keep the fractured family together.
Fueled by a terrific script, the actors, under the smart, fast-paced direction of Carrie Keranen, seethe with wicked, hilarious banter as their individual natures are revealed. The sister act is tested with the arrival on a snowmobile of a pizza deliveryman, Cliff (Ryan Gowland on the evening I attended), who gets more attention than he bargained for. And later, Clara’s Irish Mafia boyfriend, Jimbo (Andres Paul Ramacho), shows up banging on the door. All get swept up in a delicious maelstrom of gallows humor farce. For those wondering about the title, cast your thoughts in the direction of dramatic literature. We are not in Moscow, Idaho.
Produced with wonderful simplicity and cunning stagecraft, The Value of Moscow boasts a scenic design by Aaron Francis, light and sound by Matthew Richter, and costumes and props by Linda Muggeridge. The stage is managed with authority by Billy Baker.
As my companion and I moved out of the intimate auditorium, through the tiny lobby, and out to the street, I started a giggle that morphed to a guffaw and led to laughter that carried around the corner and halfway down Lillian Way before it subsided. I am still smiling.
Produced for Sacred Fools by Marisa O’Brien, The Value of Moscow runs through Saturday, December 8 in the Second Stage at The Broadwater Theater Complex, 1076 Lillian Way in Los Angeles.
We received a GLOWING review from Stage Raw's Terry Morgan! Click the link to take you to the website, or scroll down to read!
The Value of Moscow Reviewed by Terry Morgan
Sacred Fools Theater Company
Through December 8
One of the best experiences for a theatre critic is encountering a talented artist for the first time and being able to say to one’s readers, “Hey, you should check this person out!” Happily, two such artists are part of Sacred Fools Theater Company’s world premiere production of The Value of Moscow. Actress Madeleine Heil steals the show with her irresistible comedic performance, while playwright Amy Dellagiarino displays a wicked wit in this very enjoyable production.
Three sisters have just rented a place which they plan to share. Emily (Devin Sidell), an author, is taking a (supposedly) temporary break from her marriage. First-grade teacher Rose (Madeleine Heil) is thrilled to be together with her siblings again, but is worried about her sister Clara (Julie Bersani). Clara is recovering from a recent suicide attempt and has left her boyfriend Jimbo (Andres Paul Ramacho), who’s purportedly in the Irish Mob. As the sisters unpack their belongings, their secrets begin to come out — along with a gun.
Heil is note perfect as the slightly dim yet sweet Rose, whose chirpy optimism and kindness barely covers a desperate need to connect. Sidell, nailing every bitter line, is excellent as the brittle Emily, and is equally good as her character becomes looser and goofier as the show goes on. Bersani has less success with Clara, perhaps because the character, as written, isn’t as convincing as the other two. Ramacho is very good as the surprisingly intellectual Jimbo, and Gregory Guy Gorden is quite funny as the hapless pizza deliveryman, Cliff.
Director Carrie Keranen gets great, nuanced work from her cast, and ably manages both the quiet moments and the crazier ones. Linda Muggeridge’s costumes are well-chosen, from Rose’s cheerful green sweater/red skirt combo to Emily’s darker purple and black clothing. Dellagiarino, skilled with humorous dialogue, is especially adept at capturing the combative repartee between siblings (“Is that your comeback?” “Is that your face?”). She also gets good mileage from the play’s connection to Chekhov’s Three Sisters: her own work becomes meta-theatrical as her characters often discuss the classic play. The show isn’t perfect – the character of Clara doesn’t seem as credible or individual as the others, and the last half of the play feels more artificial than the first. But overall you come away with the impression that Dellagiarino is a playwright to watch. Her talent is clearly apparent.
This is a terrific production of a seriously fun show, and I recommend it highly.
The Broadwater Second Stage, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through Dec. 8. www.sacredfools.org. Running time: approximately one hour and 10 minutes, with no intermission.
Check out our article in Broadway World, or scroll down!
Sacred Fools' THE VALUE OF MOSCOW Makes World Premiere on Friday
by BWW News Desk Nov. 5, 2018
"There's no place like home... to make you wanna kill somebody." Season 22 at the Sacred Fools Theater Company continues with the world premiere comedy The Value of Moscow by Amy Dellagiarino and directed by Carrie Keranen. The show opens Friday, November 9 at 8:00 pm and runs through Saturday, December 8, 2018 in the Second Stage at The Broadwater Theater Complex.
Three grown "adult" sisters are thrust back into living together as a last resort after their various lives have fallen apart. This trio can't even agree on how to unpack their stuff much less their relationships and pasts. And before they can finish the bottle of vodka they found in the kitchen, everything goes from bad to worse, to a lot, LOT worse. Can they set aside their grievances long enough to work together and save themselves? Probably not. But with acerbic wit and an encounter with the pizza man, these three sisters aim to find out.
After receiving her BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Playwright Amy Dellagiarino returned to her native Chicago before eventually making her way to Los Angeles. Other plays by Dellagiarino include The Misfit Mantra at 2Cents Theatre Group (winner of Best Comedy at this year's INK Fest), Break In from the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival and Inhale and Exhale, which was produced in 2015 by Chicago's Something Marvelous Theatre Company as part of the Festival of Magical Realism.
Director Carrie Keranen is a Sacred Fools member whose Fools credits include Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk, Watson and the Dark Art of Harry Houdini, countless Serial Killers appearances and is the company representative on the Sacred Fools Board of Directors. She is also a voice actor and director with dozens of credits voicing anime, cartoons, and games. The Value of Moscow is her mainstage directorial debut at Sacred Fools.
The design team consists of Fools veteran designers Aaron Francis (Scenic Design), Matthew Richter (Light and Sound Design) and Linda Muggeridge (Costumes and Props).
The cast of The Value of Moscow stars Julie Bersani, Madeleine Heil, and Devin Sidell with Gregory Guy Gordon and Andres Paul Ramacho. The understudy cast features Tiffany Cole, Heather Klinke, and Nikki Mejia with Brendan Broms and Ryan Gowland.
There's always something happening at Sacred Fools, including Serial Killers, The Joe and Joshua Show, Ten Tops and We The People. For more information on these and other upcoming performances, please visit www.sacredfools.org.
Playwright, screenwriter, artist, author and everything in between...