Skip to main content Skip to footer site map




The Actors' Gang presents VIOLENCE: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer, written by The Actors' Gang Artistic Director Tim Robbins and Adam Simon and directed by Bob Turton, who was most recently seen at The Actors' Gang as "The Maniac" in Accidental Death of an Anarchist. This no-holds barred satire of militarism and media manipulation begins performances May 2nd (Press Opening May 11th at 8:00pm) and will run Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, through June 22nd.

Originally written and performed in 1986 at The Actors' Gang and directed by Tim Robbins, VIOLENCE: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer tells the story of Spike Spangle, a down on his luck farmer who gets sucked into a whirlwind of celebrity and patriotism. He joins Superman on billionaire Max Enormous' Celebrity Space Shuttle and a nefarious plot leads to the deification of Spike Spangle as an American hero. The same year of its Actors Gang Premiere, VIOLENCE: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer was also presented in Chicago by the Piven Theater Workshop at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston where it was directed by Byrn Piven.

"The targets of this satire are easily recognizable and universal - the unlimited greed of the corporate world, the economic policies that led to the devastation of the family farm and the manipulation of public opinion to create war, all of which have been suffocating the American dream since we wrote the play in the mid eighties." said Tim Robbins. "It's a madcap satire, a mixture of expressionism and realism, a world where cartoon characters like Elmer Fudd and Superman are real people - and a world that I think audiences over thirty years later will still recognize and resonate with."

Of the original 1986 Actors' Gang production, the Los Angeles Times called VIOLENCE: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer "A boisterous, brutal, comic odyssey" with "remarkable acidity and surprising lyricism." The Chicago Sun Times went on to call it "An exuberant satire with a rock-n-roll heart." The original 1986 cast included Actors' Gang alumni John Cusack (as Superman), Lee Arenberg (Maximilian Enormous), Ned Bellamy (Spike Spangle ), James Terry (Flora), Fisher Stevens (Dr. Gein) and Jeremy Piven (Rambo).

Tickets for VIOLENCE: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer are available by calling 310-838-4264 or online at Tickets range from $25 - $50 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Actors' Gang Theatre is located at The Ivy Substation at 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA, 90232.

The Actors' Gang 2018/2019 Season

VIOLENCE: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer is the fourth production and concludes The Actors' Gang 2018/19 Season. Other plays included Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo and directed by Will Thomas McFadden, the critically acclaimed Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo and directed by Tim Robbins, One Act Festival / The Classic - No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre and Krapp's Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, and One Act Festival / The Original - Tradition by James Edward Bane and A Perfect World by Lynde Houck and Clean Slate by Bob Turton.

Tim Robbins ( Playwright, Artistic Director, The Actors' Gang)

For the past 37 years, Tim Robbins has served as Artistic Director for The Actors' Gang, a theater company formed in 1982 that has over 150 productions and more than 100 awards to their credit. Past productions with The Actors' Gang include: As Writer/Director - The New Colossus (2017-18), Harlequino On to Freedom (2017), Break the Whip (2010-11), Embedded (2003-4), Mayhem, the Invasion (1992), Carnage, A Comedy (1988-89), Violence, The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer (1987) and Alagazam (1986). As Director -A Midsummer Night's Dream (2012-16), Orwells' 1984 (2006-16), Mephisto (2001), The Good Woman of Setzuan (1991), Methusalem, the Eternal Bourgeois (1985), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1984), Ubu the King (1982); In addition to producing live theater throughout the year, The Actors' Gang provides arts education to thousands of Elementary, Middle and High School students working in 12 LA USD schools and in underserved communities in the L.A. area. Since 2006, The Actors' Gang's groundbreaking Prison Project provides theatrical workshops to incarcerated men and women in 12 California prisons.

As Actor, his credits include Here and Now, Marjorie Prime, The Brink, Mystic River, The Shawshank Redemption, The Player, Bull Durham and Jacob's Ladder. As a writer/director Dead Man Walking, The Cradle Will Rock, and Bob Roberts. Robbins has won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG Award, the Prix d'Interprétation Masculine at the Cannes Film Festival and the Officier de L'Ordre des Arts des Lettres from the Republic of France.

Adam Simon (Writer, Producer and Director)
Adam co-created the TV series Salem. His films range from early Roger Corman-produced cult classics, Brain Dead and Carnosaur, through documentaries for BBC, Channel 4 and the Independent Film Channel - including The Typewriter, the Rifle and The Movie Camera and The American Nightmare, to horror films -- including Bones and The Haunting in Connecticut. Most recently, he adapted Valiant Comics' Shadowman for the big screen and Clive Barker's Books of Blood for the small. He has, happily, never fully recovered from his creative origins as a playwright and pataphysical mentalist for Tim Robbins and the Actors Gang with whom he co-wrote the trilogy Alagazam, Violence and Carnage. He is married to the Australian novelist, Cassandra Austin with whom he has two children and regrets too few to mention.

About The Actors' Gang

The Actors' Gang was founded in 1981 by a group of young actors looking to build a theater that would present relevant and vibrantly entertaining plays. Over the past 38 years, The Actors' Gang has performed for audiences in Los Angeles and throughout the world, on five continents and in 40 U.S. States. Our groundbreaking Prison Project is currently in twelve California prisons, serving incarcerated women, men and children with rehabilitation programs that significantly reduce the recidivism rate. Each year, thousands of children in Los Angeles public schools discover confidence and creativity with our Education Department through in-school immersion and after-school programs and by participating in classes that encourage acceptance, respect and team building in a fun and impactful way.

The theater company has presented the work of innovative theater artists including Georges Bigot, Simon Abkarian, Charles Mee, David Schweizer, Bill Rauch and the Cornerstone Theatre Company, Tracy Young, Roger Guenver Smith, Eric Bogosian, Oskar Eustis, Danny Hoch, Beth Milles, Brian Kulick, Stefan Haves, Namaste Theater Company, Culture Clash, Jason Reed, Michael Schlitt and Tenacious D.

The Actors' Gang ensemble has included accomplished actors such as Jack Black, Lee Arenberg, John Cusack, John C. Reilly, Brent Hinkley, Helen Hunt, Kate Walsh, Kyle Gass, Fisher Stevens, Ned Bellamy, Jeremy Piven, Ebbe Roe Smith, Kate Mulligan, and Tim Robbins. The theater company has presented the work of innovative theater artists including Georges Bigot, Simon Abkarian, Charles Mee, Culture Clash, Bill Rauch and The Cornerstone Theatre Company, Tracy Young, Namaste Theater Company, Roger Guenver Smith, Eric Bogosian, Oskar Eustis, Danny Hoch, Beth Milles, David Schweizer, Brian Kulick, Stefan Haves, Jason Reed, Michael Schlitt and Tenacious D.

Guest artists that have appeared on The Actors' Gang stage include: Jackson Browne, Sarah Silverman, Ben Gibbard, John Doe, Tom Morello, Jenny Lewis, Wayne Kramer, Paul Provenza, Zooey Deschanel, Serj Tankian, David Crosby, Pink, Felicity Huffman, Jill Sobule, William H. Macy, Phillip Baker Hall, Jeanne Tripplehorn, T.C. Boyle. and the late, beloved, Gore Vidal.

Recent touring productions include The New Colossus, Harlequino: On to Freedom, A Midsummer Night's Dream, George Orwell's 1984, The Exonerated, Tartuffe, Embedded, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine and The Guys. Over the last thirty years The Actors' Gang has toured the U.S. in forty-five states and on five continents, performing across the world from London to Milan, Bucharest, Athens, Madrid, Barcelona, Bogota, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Buenos Aires and recently, to Santiago and Concepcion, in Chile.

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You