Fatherland! It’s Almost Like Being There

Bottitta, Keleher. Photo by Jenny Graham.

If somehow you missed any of the hullaballoo surrounding the march on the Capital on January 6, Fatherland at the Fountain Theatre provides a harrowing recap, helmed by Artistic Director, Stephen Sachs and featuring a chilling performance by Ron Bottitta as “Father”.  What is most disturbing, every word is taken from court transcripts, confiscated taped conversations, and television coverage.

Imaginatively sewn into a cohesive script by Sachs, the play tells the true story of a real life, deluded “patriot,” Guy Reffitt (played by Bottitta), who was one of the first to storm the capital, and the Son (played by Patrict Keleher), who watched his father’s indoctrination and ultimately turned him in to the FBI. Transcripts from the trial, including remarks by the prosecutor (Anna Khaja) and defense attorney (Larry Poindexter), are interwoven with their growing estrangement. 

Told in a snappy 90 minutes, the play only bogs down toward the end of the trial which ends with a subdued Father accepting his sentence. But, the horror of witnessing the Father’s self-rightous delusion is a sobering reminder that the groups contributing to his indoctrination are still out there.

Sachs, who directs as well, has chosen a simple setting (designed by Joel Daavid),  utilizing tables and chairs that the actors can maneuver in quick succession to stand in for domestic environments or courtroom venues.  But the most significant … and chilling … production element is Bottitta’s oufit that he utilizes to storm the Capital: flack jacket, plastic handcuffs, and hand-gun (illegal to take inside), as well as head-gear, all designed in meticulous detail by Danyele Thomas.  Other features: lighting by Alison Brummer; Sound by Steward Blackwood, and Properties by Jenine Macdonald, achieve their unobtrusive goals.  In all, a riveting performance and a timely story that serves as a warning for our next election cycle.

Fatherland continues Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays at 8PM and Sunday at 2PM through March 30, at the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. in Los Angeles; For reservations, phone (323) 663-1525 or online at www.FountainTheatre.com