The history of America boiled down to two hysterical hours
Special to The Union
So you think you know your American history?
If your school’s history classes had been taught like Foothill Theater’s “The Complete History of America” (Abridged), you probably would have learned less, but would have had a heck of a lot more fun.
Never have 50,000 years of American history been so humorously, often incisively, compacted into two hours.
Why 50,000 years of American history, you ask?
Because this play actually goes back to the people who came across the Bering Land Bridge (1 minute), then covers Indian history (4 minutes), and on to the discovery of America (6 minutes), the American Revolution (5 minutes), the Civil War (3 minutes)-I’m sure you get the idea.
In addition to the hilarious compaction of historical time, there are many funny and often clever barbs thrown at various American attitudes and institutions.
You have to listen carefully since some of them are pitched fast and subtly – and some are made to hit you over the head.
You don’t have to know much history to enjoy this show, but it helps in “getting” some of the satire. One of my favorite lines went something like, “You can’t talk about Jimmy Hoffa in generalities – his situation was more concrete.” Ha-Ha.
And some of the antics and humor are a bit risqué – nothing your ten year old kid hasn’t seen nor heard, but be advised.
Although I’m not a big fan of slapstick, when it’s done well and isn’t the raison d’être of a piece, I can appreciate the practiced timing needed to make it work.
The madcap pace and fluid interaction of the three very talented actors does lend itself well to the occasional Three Stooges shtick.
Crystal Finn, Greg Alexander and Greg Bryan flawlessly interact, scream, bump, jump, run, slap, poke and throw pies, along with distinctly articulating thousands of words in a barrage of humor combined with occasional true historical information.
Sharon Winegar directed this fast-moving piece, creating a visual treat by having the actors romp all through the audience area as well as across the stage, change costumes and props continuously and generally frolic through two hours that passed very quickly.
The zany antics were enhanced by well-done props, costumes, sound and lighting.
Foothill Theater once again has a winner – this has, so far, been a very good season.
For laugh-out-loud entertainment, this play continues at the Nevada Theater through Aug. 3.
Hindi Greenberg wishes her history classes had been as much fun as this play-she had stodgy, boring teachers who made her memorize dates and names of which she now has no memory.
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