May 29, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Theater Review: “Fatherland” – A Riveting Portrayal of the Trial of a January 6 Insurrectionist

Stephen Sachs’s production of Fatherland,* on stage at The Fountain Theatre, is an outstanding theatrical experience that takes us back to one of the darkest days in American history.  The director refers to this genre as “Verbatim Theatre” in that the dialogue is derived from official court transcripts, evidence, and public statements.  In this case, we follow the trial of  “Father,** an unemployed oil-field worker and recruiter for the far-right “Three Percenters”** militia group, and the first of the January 6th insurrectionists to be indicted.  

The action unfolds on a very sparse stage, setting for the trial to take place in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He is on trial because his 18-year-old son sent an anonymous tip to the FBI.  At Rise, “Son,” soulfully played by  Patrick Keleher, who captures the torment of his character having to betray his father, is being cross-examined by the U.S. Prosecuting Attorney, well played with steely conviction by Anna Khaja.  Slowly, ever so slowly, through his painful testimony, she unravels the actions the defendant took leading up to the attack on the Capital.  

The storyline is not linear and moves back and forth between the courtroom testimony and confrontational scenes between the son and his father.  Privy to what his father is up to, ”Son” tries to convince him that what he was helping plan is illegal and hurtful to the country, but his dad is convinced that the election was stolen and is stepping up to support the ex-president. He is committed to heeding Trump’s call to assemble in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, and decides to drive 1,400 miles from Wylie, Texas, to Washington D.C.  

When his son asks him why he’s driving, he responds that he needs to have room for all his weapons, including pistols, AR-15s, 1000 rounds of ammunition, and body armor.  Still trying to dissuade his father from taking this action, Dad asks his son if he’s a traitor and that he would have to kill him if he is.  In one of the questions to the son, the prosecutor asks if he’s ever gone to a rally.  He says, “Yes.” She asks him if he took weapons, zip ties, and body armor to those rallies, to which he replies, “No.”  Despite all, however, he clearly loves his father and is quite tormented at having turned him in.  


Bottitta’s explosive characterization as “Father” reveals the deep personal belief his character has that the election was stolen and the only solution was to storm the Capital to prevent the Electoral votes from being counted.  Although he led the charge up the steps of the Capital, he testifies that because he was doused with bear spray, he never actually breached the Capital.  The defense attorney, wonderfully played by Larry Poindexter, tries to whittle away at “Son’s testimony, but in the end, does not make any headway in trying to convince the unseen jury of his client’s innocence.  

In a particularly hair-raising moment, this hard-drinking tough guy, who always carries a sidearm, tells his son that January 6 was just the beginning and many more attacks were being planned against the infrastructure. As far as Nancy Pelosi was concerned, he wanted to see her head bouncing down the stairs of the Capital. Being very frightened at his father’s behavior, his son begins to record his rantings, and he eventually turns over to the unseen  FBI Agent Larry Hightower.  

Through his inventive, immaculate direction, with the actors occasionally breaking the fourth wall, Sachs isolates one true believer. Bottitt’s riveting characterization fills the almost bare stage with hundreds of unseen rioters, and he commands them to charge forward through his megaphone.  In his own defense, “Father” faces the jury (audience) to defend his actions, and it’s clear that, given another chance, he would do it again to save his country from collapse. His personal truth is unshakable.  

For those of us who were riveted to our televisions on July 6, this theatrical presentation of the trial of just one of the insurrectionists, coupled with the voiceover of Trump’s speeches sprinkled throughout the play, brings back some harsh memories – especially the fighting words he shouted to the crowd gathered at the Ellipse: We fight like hell.  And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country.”

Courtroom dramas have been an often-used genre – particularly compelling because they are generally based on real-life trials with, as in the case of Fatherland, the dialogue extracted verbatim. Some outstanding productions, including either cinematic or theatrical, include  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, To Kill a Mockingbird, Twelve Angry Men,  Inherit the Wind, A Few Good Men, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, The Verdict, My Cousin Vinny, The Rainmaker, Kramer vs. Kramer, A Time to Kill, Witness for the Prosecution, and Judgment at Nuremberg. 


FATHERLAND takes its place among those compelling, stylistic presentations and could act as a cautionary tale of the possible dangers that lie ahead for our country.  

* FATHERLAND is Stephen Sachs’s “Swan Song” as he will be retiring after 34 years of helming one of the most highly respected, award-winning theatres in Los Angeles, which he co-founded with the late Deborah Culver Lawlor.

**The character of the “Father” is based on the trial of Guy Wesley Reffitt,  who was found guilty on five criminal counts and sentenced to 7¼ years in prison.  His son’s name is Jackson.

*** The Three Percenters are an American and Canadian far-right anti-government militia.  The group advocates gun ownership rights and resistance to the U.S. federal government

The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Avenue
Los Angeles: CA 90029
(Fountain at Normandie)
Conceived & Directed by Stephen Sachs
Starring:  Ron Bottitta, Patrick Keleher, Anna Khaja, 
Larry Poindexter
Production Team: 
Scenic Design: Joel Daavid
Sound Design:  Stewart Blackwood 
Lighting Design:  Alison Brummer
Costume Design: Danyele Thomas

Run: 
Mondays: 8:00 p.m.
Thursdays-Saturdays:  8:00 p.m.
Sundays:  2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
Closing:    Saturday, March 30, 2024
Running Time:  Approximately 80 minutes  
Tickets:  $25*-$45 
(*Tickets for Students & Seniors)
(323) 663-1525 or www.FountainTheatre.com
(Secure on-site parking: $5.00)

in News
Related Posts

Thousands of UAW Members Join Strike at UCLA and UC Davis Over Unfair Labor Practices

May 28, 2024

May 28, 2024

Union Demand UC Respect Free Speech Rights and Provide Safe Work Environments Thousands of UAW Local 4811 members at UCLA...

Murder Charge Added in Venice Canals Assault Case After Victim’s Death

May 28, 2024

May 28, 2024

Anthony Jones Now Faces Life Sentence Without Possibility of Parole  Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that...

Celebrate National Burger Day with Free Burgers and Special Deals on May 28

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

From Arby’s to Wendy’s, Find out Where to Score the Best Burger Deals As National Burger Day approaches on May...

Pultizer Prize Winning Rapper Signs Deal To Purchase Pricey Brentwood Estate

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

Deal Would Be One of the Biggest Real Estate Sales in 2024  Pulitzer Prize winning rapper Kendrick Lamar has agreed...

Check Out Local Library Events and Upcoming Programs Going Into June

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

Brentwood, Palisades, and West Los Angeles Libaries Schedules Included As the school year draws to a close, the Brentwood Library...

Measles Case Reported in Traveler at LAX: Health Officials Issue Exposure Warning

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

Fourth Infectious Case of Measles in Los Angeles This Year, Third at LAX The Los Angeles County Department of Public...

West Hollywood’s Arts and Culture Industry Generates $12.4 Million in 2022

May 24, 2024

May 24, 2024

Industry Supports 248 Jobs and Contributes $3.4 Million in Tax Revenue The nonprofit arts and culture sector in West Hollywood...

UCLA Police Make First Arrest in Attack on Palestine Solidarity Encampment

May 24, 2024

May 24, 2024

18-year-old Charged With Assault with a Deadly Weapon; Bail Set at $30,000 By Dolores Quintana After three weeks, the University...

UAW Local 4811 Calls for Strike at UCLA and UC Davis Over Unresolved Labor Practices

May 24, 2024

May 24, 2024

UCLA Administration Calls in Riot Police Over Brief Establishment of Second Encampment The Executive Board of UAW Local 4811 called...

Woman Charged After High-Speed Pursuit, Multi-Vehicle Crash on 405 Freeway

May 23, 2024

May 23, 2024

Preliminary hearing set for June 20, Suspect Faces Multiple Charges Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that a...

UCLA Police Chief Reassigned After Assault on Palestine Solidarity Encampment

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

Acting Chief Named as John Thomas Reassigned to Other Duties on Monday By Dolores Quintana In the aftermath of the...

(Video) The Long Awaited Opening of @Something About Her. The line was down the block for most of the day. Huge success

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

If you look closely you can see the owners in the video, who were so very gracious and genuine to...

Off-Duty West Bureau LAPD Officer Arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

Officer Taken Into Custody in Westchester, Internal Affairs is Investigating An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was arrested Tuesday for...