Thomas Hampton Reviews MY PENIS – IN AND OUT OF TROUBLE

July 22, 2010

photo credits Charci Stinson, Dixie Sheridan

At the top of MY PENIS – IN AND OUT OF TROUBLE, the stage is nearly bare, but for a smattering of photos spread around a lone chair.  Antonio Sacre steps out, takes a seat, and picks up pictures one at a time in a seemingly random order.  He shares with the audience the age of his penis at the time of the photo, and the related memory/ story that the image evokes.

Originally produced in 1999 and 2000 at Fringe Festivals in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, MY PENIS – IN AND OUT OF TROUBLE was Sacre’s big step forward as a writer/ performer.  Working with director Jenny Magnus, he found a way to portray a character similar to, but not quite, his own persona.  Sacre purposefully tackled powerful topical material that he could not approach in his day job as a respected storyteller for children.  He created a show that used a lurid title to titillate and line ‘em up for a classic bait and switch; turning the tables on the audience to confront them as to their complicity in the rampant sexual abuse of children throughout our society.  Sacre points out in the show that by his own semi-scientific reasoning, 17,000 of the children he has performed for have been molested.  Seventeen thousand.

After this initial round of performances, Sacre transitioned back in to the world of children’s storytelling; and went on to perform new works for adults at Summer Fringe Festivals.  In 2007 he attended the Conference of World Affairs as a last minute sub for a friend with a broken leg.  Sacre took part in many panels, including one at a local high school whose topic was Sex, Teens, and Drugs.  During a slow news cycle this panel caused a stir, and for nearly a week a Fox News channel blowhard railed on against him using quotes out of context.  Obviously, a daily nationally televised rant about you, your penis, and your day job speaking to hundreds of youngsters at a time is not the best thing for business.  However, Sacre has taken his experiences and allowed them to simmer on the back burner.

The new MY PENIS, directed by Paul Stein, has folded the story of this culture wars battle back in to the original piece, creating an updated show that moves beyond its ‘sex sells’ genesis, and connects personal incidents to larger questions of import.  Sacre walks us between his separate public lives as a boundary pushing solo performer and a storyteller for children.  In the process he asks how one’s honesty, and desire to teach and connect effects one’s ability to communicate at all.  Does communication necessitate taking sides in the culture wars; and whose fault is that?  Would sound bite culture exist if we did not condone it?

It is evident that Sacre begins his writing process by asking what conversation he wants to start, not merely as a way to work though personal issues.  Sacre’s command of the stage is second nature, and it was especially enjoyable to watch him deal with late arrivals to the show.  Employing a favorite clowning technique, he quickly recapped the beginning of the show after greeting the late comers.  When they informed him of the rest of their party still on their way in, he began to do the show en Español, until the entire group was seated.

For fans of the one person memoir, MY PENIS – IN AND OUT OF TROUBLE is a breezy hour that touches on issues of import to us all- without getting preachy or mired in a self help, tell all, work through my issues trap that many solo performers face.  Sacre has given himself the distance and perspective necessary to re-craft his experiences in to a meditation on how we connect with the rest of the world, and our responsibility to do right by our fellow man.

Thematic content includes:  Redemption, Love, Sex, Violence, Self Destruction, Highbrow, Lowbrow, Humor.

MY PENIS- In and Out of Trouble $15
Adults only!
7/15 to 8/5
Th 8pm
Purchase tickets
Map of Theatre Asylum
Visit Antonio Sacre’s web site


THEATRE ASYLUM’S BEST OF THE FRINGE Extensions of the best from the inaugural Hollywood Fringe Festival play through August

July 21, 2010

The first annual Hollywood Fringe Festival has ended, but thanks to Theatre Asylum/Combined Artform you do not have to miss the best that the festival had to offer.  As is tradition with most fringe festivals, they are presenting Theatre Asylum’s Best of the Fringe.  See the shows with the best reviews, awards, and audience raves that you may have missed.
Shows, times, and dates may be added, more up to date information may be available here.


The line up:

Kimleigh Smith takes the audience through a journey that is totally uplifting, totally heartbreaking, and totally powerful.
7/10 8:00 PM, 7/18 7:00 PM, 7/24 8:00 PM, 7/31 8:00 PM
Tickets $16

Writer-performer Jeff Gardner’s dialogue- free solo comedy with a hilarious and insightful look at the insidious nature of television.
7/17 8:00pm, 7/23 8:00PM, 7/31 6:30PM, and  8/14  6:00PM
Tickets $12

An uproarious one-woman antidote to Riverdance by London-Irish dancer-performer Máire Clerkin.
7/24 6:30PM
Tickets $15

Filament Theatre Co. presents a workshop performance of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot.
7/17 2:00pm, 7/24 10:00pm, 7/31 7:00pm, 8/7 8:00pm
Tickets $10

Smoke ‘em! Drink ’em! Shoot ’em up!  When the music stops one lucky audience member picks a topic from the fish bowl and joins us on stage as an active participant in the story. No holds barred! 7/29, 7/30, 7/31 9:30pm, 7/31 3:00pm
Tickets $15

A critically-acclaimed one-man show written by and starring Jack Fry and directed by Jeff Michalski
7/11 3:00pm, 7/24 3:00pm, 7/31 8:00pm, 8/7 3:00pm
Tickets $15

Bill O’Reilly calls him a sexual extremist, and Dennis Miller wants to punch him in the nose; Antonio Sacre performs a 60 minute solo performance piece directed by Paul Stein.
Thursdays 7/15 to 8/5 8:00pm

Tickets $15

ZOMBIÉNCE!  An Improvised Zombie Musical.
7/9, 7/16, 7/23, 7/30, 8/6, 8/13, 8/20, 8/27  8:00pm
Tickets $10

David O’Shea recounts stories from his seven year tenure as a NYC taxi driver during the 1970’s and early 80’s.
7/9 8:00pm, 7/16 8:00pm, 7/24 5:00pm, 8/14 8:00pm
Tickets $15

Poor Dog Group’s NANO NATION is an investigation of the American Myth dealing with the creation and dissolution of power.
7/9 9:30pm, 7/16 9:30pm, 7/24 10:00pm
Tickets $10

A Texan girl’s unconventional adventures in a British seaside town explores the idea that sometimes you have to pretend to be someone else to find out who you really are.
7/18, 8/1, 8/8, 8/15 7:00pm, 7/25 5:30pm
Tickets $10

Born human but raised deep in the woods by feral wolves, a pack of wild girls are thrust into a strict Catholic boarding school in order to be assimilated into “human society.”
7/30 8:00pm, 7/25, 8/1  9:00pm
Tickets $10

Hutchins Foster’s one man show depicts his own harrowing journey into the world of marriage, adoption, interracial kids, and dreaded potty time.
7/15, 7/29, 8/5 8:00pm, 7/22 9:30pm
Tickets $15

A Musical Comedy Drama About One Man’s Quest for Love by Andreas Beckett and the legendary Mitzie and Ken Welch, writers and composers for the Carol Burnett Show.
7/18 8:30pm, 8/1 3:00pm
Tickets $15

Theatre Asylum’s Best of the Fringe $10-$15
July/ August 2010
Multiple shows and times
Map of Theatre Asylum
All tickets available at brown paper tickets, please click the ‘tickets’ link under each show