Archive for the ‘Robert Hawkes’ Category

A Life in Five Acts

December 28th, 2015 No comments

Bob: A Life in Five Acts

Postcard design by Bill Lynn

Postcard design by Bill Lynn

Caught BOB: A life in five acts at convergence on 12/11.

I had the chance to read/hear/participate in this script at my good friend Peter Roth’s house on Monday, September 24, 2012. Man, that’s quite a ways back. So, my interest in seeing the play at convergence was heightened, and I was not disappointed.

As Geoffrey Hoffman, director, noted in the program:

“Bob is an everyman and a representative of The American Dream… He is born with nothing and becomes a passionate adventurer—part myth, part reality, and completely legendary.”

Bob is born in the bathroom of a White Castle, so things can only get better right? He wanders the American landscape, exposing the bankrupt culture that we all have come to know and, eh em, love. From museums to rest stops to casinos and un-earned statues; from waif to sexy man to affluent someone-or-other to side-show barker—- Peter Sinn Nachtrieb makes a fillet of the prototypical American soul. Bob is funny, poignant, and sometimes frightening as we stare down the black rabbit hole that is our American existence.

Bob uses one main character and a chorus: a technique in plays that has come around recently from its old Greek days and which remains a highly versatile tool for play constructing and random character deployment. Doug Kusak is great as Bob and is always fun to see at convergence. I was equally happy to see Robert Hawkes and Katie Nabors, who always shines when she’s on stage: from Poor Little Lulu to The Underpants to certain crazy workshops inspired by Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant with one Jeffrey Frace.

Geoff did a great job of keeping the pace up, the story moving, and discovering innovative uses for the chorus when they were only voices out of the dark… Cool use of multimedia with location projections, as well.


June 22nd, 2009 No comments

I think what I like best about this play (other than the two leading ladies) is the manner in which relationships are distilled to raw absurdity. Melanie Marnich regularly compresses time to generate hysterical representations–sort of like coal being squeezed to present a diamond, or pressing fruit to extract juice. You get the idea.

Two plates (as in tectonics) meet in Quake

Two plates (as in tectonics) meet in Quake

Laurel Johnson is the big hit in this one (no surprise here) as That Woman: a hip-slappin’ hottie who can out-philosophize you, out fuck you, and then kill you when she’s wrung you out. Lucy (Erin Scerbak) is the naïve vixen screwing her way across the country looking for Mr. Goodbar, culminating in her own brutal run in with a predictably brutal grease-monkey (Tom Kondilas) who excels at playing casually aggressive male characters.

I’d like to say that this play did something for me, other than the scintillation occasioned by various physical antics—that and the very funny comedic moments from both Christian Prentice and Stuart Hoffman as the various Mr. Goodbar candidates adopted by Lucy in her travels. But it really didn’t.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was funny and there were some very good theatrical moments that Arthur Grothe managed very well (I especially liked getting a drill thrust toward my face—if you like that sort of thing sit in the front row, stage left). But Marnich’s piece was only good for breadth, not depth and it was never clear to me that Lucy’s ‘big love’ was anything more than an onanistic quest that barely did more than disregard all the Goodbars.

The most compelling moment is the late meeting between Lucy and That Woman, where That Woman poignantly reflects on what she sacrificed in settling down—a theme with which I have become all-too-familiar lately. It is the one moment of true, possible connection in the piece and one that Lucy rejects (does she reject her ‘big love?’). Unfortunately, I’m not entirely convinced that Lucy understands the choice, so its impact is undermined as she wanders into the Pacific in her blithering naivety.

Overall, I enjoyed the play, but mostly for its episodic nature and the fact that I love convergence and love seeing these people engaged in ‘play making.’

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