Community theater needs more visionaries like Michael Dale Brown, a director at the Costa Mesa Playhouse who's constantly searching for new and unusual plays with which to entertain his audiences. And if he can't find one, he'll write one ("Earthlings, Beware").
Brown's latest discovery is "The Book of Liz" by David and Amy Sedaris, a satirical romp focusing on one crucial element — a recipe for cheese balls. His Costa Mesa production not only entertains but informs — check out his creative "back story" of the show in the program.
The Sedarises' play is a gentle sendup of kooky cloistered religious orders. Theirs is called the Squeamish, which specializes in producing the most delicious cheese balls available. They're the creation of one Sister Elizabeth Donderstock, an underappreciated functionary who, fed up with her treatment, goes missing one day, taking the coveted recipe with her.
Her experiences in the outside world, and the unique characters she meets, comprise the comical crux of the show, with a relatively small cast of six actors taking on some 13 assignments. It's a joyous mixture of broad comedy and heart-tugging sincerity.