Los Angeles Theater Review: LETTERS FROM A NUT BY TED. L NANCY (Geffen Playhouse in Westwood)

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by Samuel Garza Bernstein on June 30, 2017

in Theater-Los Angeles


Dear Mr. Ted L. Nancy:

You are a funny letter writer. In fact, you are the best letter writer who reads his own letters in a show with an actress reading replies to his letters and a mute clown waving a flag to national anthems that I have ever seen. I saw another letter writer once who was also good. But he didn’t have an actress or a clown. So, you are better.

I feel sad for some of the people you write letters to. They are some of the finest people, who work very hard to be responsive and polite to the “nuts” who write to them asking “nutty” questions. It’s funny that they have no idea they are going to be held up to ridicule in a theater by someone who wants to amuse a lot of aging middle class Jewish people like me. (I’m Jewish by the way, and middle class or maybe upper? And though I’m not old, I don’t consider myself young anymore. I have friends, though, who think I look younger than I am.)

I’m worried about the lady from the Harriet Carter Catalogue Company. She was very upset when you wrote asking for different things. First an electric chair, then when she said she didn’t have that, a gas chamber, and when she wrote back that she didn’t have that, a firing squad. I’m writing her myself to find out if her company’s insurance plan offers her mental health coverage. I’ll let you know what she says.

Writing to companies with concerns and problems and issues is very important. I can understand how seeing the message on a Fritos bag that you should contact them if you have concerns or problems or issues inspired you to write letters. Dust from Fritos is a serious problem. We all know that. It was also very smart of your director, “Pierre Baloón,” to put up a projection of a guy with Frito dust on his face to prove how dust from Fritos is bad. And when you talk about parmesan cheese, it is good to project a picture of a can of parmesan cheese so we are sure that the parmesan cheese you are talking about is the same parmesan cheese we use on our spaghetti. That’s smarter than other plays with real scenery and lighting effects and good video and other things like that.

It’s lucky Beth Kennedy is there to play all the people writing you back. She is a very good actress, one of the best actresses I have seen in a play where an actress plays a lot of different letter writers writing back to the main character. She really is very good. I mean it. I hope your friend Sam Kwasman gets his voice back soon. It’s sad when he can’t explain why he is there or what he is doing or whether it’s supposed to be funny. I was afraid of hurting his feelings, so I didn’t laugh. But now I wonder if he wanted me to laugh? Either way, please let him know I don’t blame him. Maybe he can ask Barry Marder or Director Baloón and let me know when to laugh. I want to get that part right!

My favorite things are when you ask Mr. Nordstrom about the mannequin who looks like your dead neighbor, and when you ask the hotel in Amsterdam if you can stay there with 300 hamsters for your show “Hamsterdam” and when they say no, then instead, with 500 clams for your revised show “Amsterclam.” I laughed. My husband Ronald also laughed, but you may not have heard him laugh because he was also coughing. The coughing isn’t your fault. He has asthma and is allergic to cats. Do you think there might be cats living at the Geffen Playhouse? I hope not. Many people are allergic to cats, and some people just do not like them. Not me. I like cats fine.

I also like theater very much. Do you like theater?

Your friend,

Sam “Sammy” Bernstein

P.S. Selling ham sandwiches in a casino men’s room is not sanitary. Out of concern for public health, I hope you don’t do it. Think!

P.P.S. Please tell Jerry Seinfeld he is my favorite comedian. If he ever wants to be a comedian again, instead of being the producer of your play, I have lots of jokes I am willing to let him borrow from me. They are very good jokes. Just kidding.

photos by Chris Whitaker

Letters from a Nut by Ted L. Nancy
Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater
at the Geffen Playhouse
10866 Le Conte Avenue in Westwood
Tues-Fri at 8; Sat at 3 & 8; Sun at 2 & 7
ends on July 30, 2017
for tickets, call 310.208.5454
or visit Geffen Playhouse

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ezra Buzzington July 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Samuel Bernstein is my new hero. Now that Jason Rohrer is dead.


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