The Park Slope-based Piper Theatre made a conscious decision to move away from Shakespeare this summer — and it couldn’t have found a better opposite to the Great Bard than the Sedaris Family.
Amy and David Sedaris — one known for her quirky television show, “Strangers with Candy,” the other for his hilariously autobiographical essays — joined forces some years ago to write plays.
One result of that collaboration — “The Book of Liz” — comes to the Old Stone House this month.
“Piper has been doing Shakespeare up until this year, but wanted to move into more contemporary theater,” said Kim Maier, director of the historic Park Slope venue. “The Sedarises are two interesting voices that seemed like they would appeal to a Brooklyn audience.”
That is, if you’re interested in a few choice “-isms,” specifically absurdism and satirism. In “The Book of Liz,” the Liz in question is Sister Elizabeth Donderstock, whose two main character traits are she perpetually perspires and makes fantastic cheese balls — which happens to be the livelihood of her community, the Amish-esque Squeamish. When her cheese ball-making duties are taken from her and given to a sanctimonious new arrival, she decides to leave the comfort of Squeamish and venture out into the “real world.” Once there, she befriends Ukrainian refugees with Cockney accents and gay recovering alcoholic waiters, and finds employment at a Pilgrim-themed restaurant, where they serve items like “I Hate the English Muffins” and “Williamsburgers” (that’s the other Williamsburg).
It’s a manic, hilarious production that’s full of surprises, including some over-the-top costume changes. Because if there’s anyone who could find humor in a feuding Amish-like community, it would be these two cheese balls.
“The Book of Liz” at the Old Stone House [Fifth Avenue at Third Street in Park Slope, (718) 768-3195], July 10–11, 17–18, 24–25, 8:30 pm. Free. For info, visit www.theoldstonehouse.org.