Sunday, February 25, 2024


 Preface to the review.. The following is a statement from playwright Stephen Sachs regarding his play FATHERLAND.  It has a ring of truth.  It's important. Art can change the course of history.

"FATHERLAND erupts from the core of our artistic mission, embodying what the Fountain Theatre strives to provide. Explosive new work that speaks to the urgency of our time. It is fitting that this play, dramatizing the true story of a father and son at war with each other’s worldview, is my last directorial work at the Fountain. A cautionary tale blending politics, moral struggle, and family conflict, FATHERLAND is a warning cry bringing home what’s at stake in this election. The future of our nation teeters before us. It’s our duty as artists and voters to engage.

FATHERLAND conceived and written by retiring Fountain Theatre artistic director Stephen Sachs  reaches deep into the debacle of January 6, 2021 when a group of supporters of the former 45th president, fueled by frustration, half truths and outright lies,  responded to the clarion call of  their president.

 Sachs calls his creation 'verbatim theatre':  an apt term as the basic story is taken word for word from court transcripts from the trial of the fifty year old "Three Percenter" from Wylie, Texas.  We never hear the names of anyone.  The story turns on how a basically good guy finds himself in thrall  with "The Art of the Deal" "written" by the former president and how his fascination with ex45 engulfs and virtually destroys his family.

Ron Bottitta and Patrick Keleher
Photo by Jenny Graham

In this tight full length one act we meet Patrick Keleher  as Son, the kid from Wylie, Texas  who was moved to stand up for truth, justice and the American Way.  Son is conflicted  as to whether or not to report the dangers of rebellion that his  Father (Ron Bottitta) poses.  Keleher is new to the LA theatre scene, a savvy kid from Colorado whose first job on stage at the Fountain may lead to a career.  

Bottitta brings his physical heft and intense focus to this role and presents, in a chilling and honest way the sad mess that Father has allowed himself to become. This guy is not only a threat to the government of the United States but to his own family.  

The lauguage that this nineteen year old kid commands is articulate in the face of testifying against his own father. Son's actual words.. are chilling.

As the United States still suffers from the aftermath of January 6, 2021 and a wobbly election rises on the horizon. this production dives directly into the heart of how our deeply held beliefs,  obviously "Truth" to some, like staunch evangelicals, there are those who deny the 'obvious'.  As the U.S. Attorney, Anna Khaja, proceeds coolly and directly, step by step to guide the trial to its inevitable conclusion. 

In stark contrast to Khaja's level demeanor, silver haired Larry Poindexter as Father's Defense Attorney attempts to  poke holes in Son's story.  His delivery is erratic. In his enthusiasm to rattle Son, he becomes more of a desperate bully than  an actual Defense Attorney. 

This is an unusual polemic in that there are still thousands of those of the Three Percenter ilk who , as Father shouts before the final gavel, Thousands who are waiting in the wings and ready.  As the former president once said.. paraphrasing: "Stand back and Stand Ready..." 

My own political views color my reaction to this well craftd piece, Having watched.. .. dumbstruck.. on January 6, 2021 the surreal turn of events, I am wondering how these folks can justify an act of sedition by a sitting president: juiced by "patriotism", adrenaline and maybe Xanax and booze.. to  still deny what is obvious to most folks I know. Their   aim to install a self proclaimed dictator (for a day??) in the highest office in the land is beyond comprehension.

This is a Must See Event. It surpasses what we call Theatre to hear the actual words of the participants.   Simple stage setting by Joel Daavid and lights by Alison Brummer combine with some terrific special effects to create an extraordinary production.


Ron Bottitta         Father
Patrick Keleher    Son
Anna Khaja*
        U.S. Attorney
Larry Poindexter  Defense Attorney


The creative team includes scenic designer Joel Daavid; lighting designer Alison Brummer; sound designer Stewart Blackwood; costume designer Danyele Thomas; properties designer Jenine MacDonald; and graphics designer David Mellen. The production stage manager is Sati Thyme. Barbara Herman is executive producer; Dr Robert G Meadow and Carrie Menkel Meadow are producers; Simon Levy and James Bennett produce for the Fountain Theatre.  


Conceived and written by Stephen Sachs

Directed by Stephen Sachs

The Fountain Theatre 

5060 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
(Fountain at Normandie

Performances: Feb. 25 – March 30


• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Feb. 22 (preview) ONLY
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 23 (preview); March 1, March 8, March 15, March 22, March 29
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 24 (preview); March 2, March 9, March 16, March 23, March 30
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: March 3, March 10, March 17, March 24 (no matinee on Feb. 25)
• Sunday at 7 p.m.: Feb. 25 (opening night) ONLY
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: March 4; March 11; March 18; March 25 (dark Feb. 26)

Ticket and Information:
(323) 663-1525 or 

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