Playwright Phinneas Kiyomura’s play “Supper” introduces three oil-rich brothers who have come to Japan to celebrate the wedding of their fourth brother, Freddy (Joel Scher), to his very strange Japanese bride, Naomi (Keiko Elizabeth).
Each of them is different from his brothers and as they reveal their individual characters it is difficult, in this Passover season, not to see them as resembling the four boys who traditionally ask the questions whose answers provide the apocryphal story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt.
First there is the “wise” boy. He might be represented by Freddy, the
oldest brother, a gay man who is comfortable with himself and busy absorbing what he perceives as the wisdom of the world.
Charles (Darrett Sanders), a belligerent bully and consummate narcissist, reveals himself as the “wicked” boy.
David (Alex Elliott-Funk), whom the others call a “dunderhead,” would be the “simple” boy, and Billy (Will McFadden), who maintains his distance from the family would be “the boy who doesn’t have a question to ask.”
All this is an irrelevant digression on my part, of course, and I apologize for it. So let’s get on with the play.
These four men have inherited an oil business from their father that makes them each a gazillionaire. Under the stewardship of Charles, the business has grown even more valuable, and to increase his share Charles has been buying up the shares of the other stockholders. But so has Billy.
David, who has been allied with Charles and has been serving as his “partner” and lackey, has sold some of his shares to Billy, whereupon the furious Charles abandons him.
As Charles continues to mock and berate his brothers the tension rises and eventually turns from the emotional to the physical. One by one they turn against him, even after he explains his motivation. His vision has less to do with greed than a quest for unlimited power. He describes the future, when he will have enough money to “buy a congressman” and even a president, and later to become the president himself, and eventually, the ruler of the world.
As playwright Kiyomura assures us in his program notes, “This play is definitely NOT about the Koch Brothers.” But it sure sounds like them.
And also like our current president who, in attempting to shape the world in his own image, is bent on destroying it.
All this takes place in Naomi’s Japanese home, tastefully designed by Aaron Francis, with tatami mats and pillows and sliding panels made of wood and paper. The set, in fact, is more interesting than the play.
Meanwhile, the bride-to-be wanders in and out periodically, covered in blood stains, her back covered with a huge tattoo, and revealing, in brief inscrutable phrases, her own weird life experiences. For example, she tells of her delight in having been a castrator of lambs. She is also a “healer” with hands that can cure bodily ailments.
But in the end, (Spoiler Alert) there is a murder. Maybe two.
“Supper”, directed by Alina Phelan, runs on alternate evenings with the World Premiere of “Red Helen”, a play by Jennifer Barclay, at Theatre of NOTE, 1517 North Cahuenga Blvd, in Hollywood. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7. Both shows will close on May 20th with back-to-back performances of both plays on that night.
For scheduling information and reservations, call (323) 856-8611 or visit www.theatreofnote.com.