Heartland Actors’ 2009 Indyfringe Theatre Festival production, Another Classic of Western Literature, was directed by Michael Shelton from a script by Matthew Roland, and featured company member Sam Fain, along with Charles Goad, Rich Komenich, and Don Jamaica. Set design, costumes, and lighting design were by Lindsey Lyddan. The satire, which skewered the engineers of the 2008 financial meltdown, was the highest attended play of the festival.
This play is “stark raving magnificent” as it goes where you least expect it to. With surprise after surprise, there is never a dull moment in the Heartland Actors Repertory Theater’s first Fringe attempt. I would say they were wildly successful. Funcityfinder
Matthew Roland’s hard-hitting comedy is a self-contained stimulus package of cynicism given an exuberant production by the local Heartland Actors’ Repertory Theatre.Charles Goad plays a conscienceless business titan who summons a lowly employee (Sam Fain) to his office with a bizarre proposition. Their true relationship can’t be revealed here; the same goes for a lot of the show’s humor, which is not for the faint of heart. Any new comedy with a character named “God” spells trouble. Are we in for a spate of sophomoric theology mouthed by a self-doubting deity? Well, of course, but I had to admire the way Roland entangles the Almighty in the fates of the two main characters. Besides, Rich Komenich’s portrayal is so daft and rumpled that you have to give it grudging love. Indianapolis Star
Outrageous, very funny, and with more than its share of blistering lines, the play’s strongest suit is a pair of smile-just-thinking-about-them supporting characters/performances. While God has appeared in many comedic plays and films, actor Rich Komenich and Roland come up with a truly original creation. The playwright himself, credited as Don Jamaica, offers an equally unforgettable performance as a, well, I don’t want to ruin the joy of that particular surprise. The play is still a few steps away from being a classic of western literature — a sharply acted and directed climax and coda didn’t quite bring things to a satisfying conclusion. But having a Fringe show premiere at this level of writing and acting helps elevate the fest. I’d love to see more professional companies in Indy try their hands at 50-minute Fringe shows. And I’m looking forward to seeing what Roland comes up with next. Indiana Business Journal
My post-show tweet for this piece was “chewy and hilarious.” It is, indeed, bizarre and bark-worthy, filled with amazingly layered characters, didn’t-see-THAT-coming plot twists, and great line after great line after great line. It is also a richly staged play – something you don’t see often at the Fringe because everything has to be very portable and easy to change in time for the next show 30 minutes later. This show, in spite of the Fringe constraints, has interesting and effective lighting, sound, and costume designs and the handful of set pieces are perfectly chosen. The acting is stellar. Chuck Goad, Sam Fain, Rich Komenich, and Matt Roland are my heroes. Indytheatrehabit