American Poodle (Splayfoot)

AP3Web

 

Splayfoot is a monologue originally performed as Part 2 of American Poodle, a program of two monologues addressing the Anglo-American relationship. Part 1 is the monologue Snowball, written by Guy Masterson. In Splayfoot, an American businessman arrives in London to pursue a curious and secretive business deal. Before meeting to conclude his transaction, however, he wanders the streets of London, discovering – in comically surreal fashion – a very odd city around him. Performed by one actor, gender flexible. Approximate running time 45 minutes (long version) or 30 minutes (short version).

 

Productions

The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2007

Holden Street Theater, Adelaide Fringe Festival, 2008

Riverside Studios, London, 2009

Central Standard Theater, “British Invasion Festival,” Kansas City, Kansas, 2011

Plus various UK tour dates, Guy Masterson/Theatre Tours International

 

Reviews

American Poodle is an elegantly crafted, brilliantly acted two-part play that is just a few brush strokes short of being a masterpiece. Guy Masterson is extraordinary, creating characters without visibly moving a muscle, as he takes an irreverent look at the historical British/US “special relationship” through a powerfully eccentric lens.

…The play sparkles with witty self-awareness…. In part one, a British bulldog delivers some John Bull about the founding, colonisation and ultimate loss of the American colonies to the treacherous, ungrateful colonists. During the second act, an American businessman visits London, where everyone is either a Reeve or a Franklin. He marvels at everything from Ye Olde Worlde Heathrow Airport to black cabs looking like hearses for midgets and how the British politely use escalators. American Poodle is full of surprises and unfolds with consummate ease. This all makes for a deeply entertaining experience that engages the mind as well as the funny bone. ADELAIDE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY

 

…From the other side of the pond comes Splayfoot, Brian Parks’s scatalogically manic monologue performed by the ever brilliant David Calvitto. He plays an American businessman in thrall of a London seen through his alien’s eyes, and still stuck in the historical mud. As he discovers England, “Where capitalism was invented before America perfected it” as he puts it, Calvitto becomes a living pop-up history book of cliched presumption concerning us quaint l’il Brits. This is clever if throwaway stuff, though worth it for its underlying tone of anti-flag-waving, which makes a mockery of the differences between apple pie and stiff-upper-lipped sensibilities. And if you’re wondering who’s dumber, you are probably the type who would try to buy London Bridge.  THE HERALD

 

Splayfoot written by Brian Parks, directed by John Clancy and performed by David Calvitto — this extremely funny piece takes the American misunderstanding of British Heritage to sublimely absurd heights. Almost nothing that this blissfully ignorant businessman experiences is as he sees it. His grasp of English history, literature, politics and culture is almost non-existent. There’s a wonderfully inappropriate poem he recites to what he perceives to be a Dickensian waif. The best passage is actually about America, in particular the world-paralysing effects of American backsides ONSTAGESCOTLAND

 

The second half of the piece is Splayfoot by Brian Parks, in which an American businessman arrives in London on his first trip to the UK. As he explores the city he never really understands what he’s actually seeing because everything is filtered through his chauvinistic lens. One of the funniest segments considers the contrast between British shoppers and their American counterparts in terms of escalator etiquette. American backsides receive close attention. KANSAS CITY STAR

 

Additional Contact Information

A touring production of American Poodle is available. Contact:

Guy Masterson

Theatre Tours International

The Hawthorne Theatre

Campus West, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, UK AL8 6BX

+44 (0)1707 330 360

theatretoursinternational.com

admin@theatretoursinternational.com

 

Image credit: Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni