The Unbearable Banishment: Two one man

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two one man

It is said that one of the greatest human fears is speaking in public. Imagine, if you will, walking onto a stage and the only thing standing between you and utter humiliation are your words and this:

That's the extent of the staging for St. Nicholas, the one-man show at the Irish Repertory Studio Theater (the smallest theater in Manhattan). Man, I love the Irish Rep. If I had some extra money, I'd give it to them. One-man shows are such a crap shoot. The potential for catastrophe is pretty high and I always feel awful when it doesn't work out. And while this show didn't quite achieve greatness, it was a pleasant night out.

St. Nicholas was written by Irish fireball Connor McPherson. It's the story of a drunken, washed-up theater critic (a bit of payback, Mr. McPherson?) who becomes involved with a beautiful young actress. It comes to pass that the actress belongs to a sect of vampires. The vampires give him a new vocation: fetching food for them. There's a seemingly endless supply of supple, young club kids who are eager to party.

I was seated in the front row and I always find sitting in the front row to be too much of an intrusion into the performance. I prefer some distance between the stage and I. I become too self conscious about keeping my feet off the stage and trying to look lively for the actors. I always try to get lost in a performance but it's impossible for me if the performance is right in my lap.

* * *

The other one-man show I just saw was Long Story Short by Collin Quinn, which is about to open on Broadway at the Helen Hayes (the smallest Broadway house).

They're making a big deal out of the fact that it's directed by Jerry Seinfeld. I'm always suspicious of stand-up comics who do one man shows because often times, it's nothing more than their stand up act with a pricier ticket. But I was willing to gamble on this because I'm a big fan of Herr Quinn. It's a great premise. Quinn discusses the demise of the various empires throughout civilization. Yes, we're next.

He came out and seemed hesitant and unsure of the material. This show ran for several weeks Off Broadway, so his performance should have been a lot smoother than it was. I think he actually might have lost his place on one or two occasions. But I laughed and I guess that's what it's all about.

Polish it up, Colin.



Blogger Pat said...

Yes I prefer to be part of a dark anonymous mass of audience and loath shows which were prevalent in the seventies with audience participation.
Hey I'm first. Is Savannah asleep?

November 9, 2010 at 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most performances I've been to were on tickets I could afford and that usually meant 'way up in the gods!

November 9, 2010 at 7:03 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

it's ballsy. last one i saw was a "one woman show with an all male cast" and it was pretty brilliant... before that? a friend did 'santaland diaries', which is a hoot...

and yes, it's all up to one human to pull it off. i have a vague sense of this - going alone onto a stage with a guitar. generally, however, i do NOT have paying audiences, and expectations are nil. thank god.

November 9, 2010 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Everyday Goddess said...

I love reading about your up close experiences like this.

I get a vicarious bit of culture while I am safely in my little home office sipping tea. Fabu!

November 9, 2010 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Pat: Audience participation is the WORST! I'm paying to be entertained. I don't want the failure or success to hinge on my taking part.

MIT: It's only these tiny off-off Broadway theaters I'm up front. Typically, I'm in the back of the balcony.

Daisy: It's tough to screw up great source material like Santaland Diaries.

EG: This is a shock to read because honestly? I don't think anyone cares about the theater posts. I think I'm whistling in the wind. So, thanks.

November 9, 2010 at 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'll be in NY in the new year so I hope there will be some tasty things on offer.( No, I didn't manage to find the JerryLee record!)

November 9, 2010 at 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Sid said...

I got thrown off by the vampires in the plot. I just ... I wish this vampirec craze would end. I've had enough. (Also I can't believe a play about vampires would be any good.)

November 10, 2010 at 1:29 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

I'd like to see that second play

November 10, 2010 at 3:38 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

MIT: I hope that New York does not disappoint when you visit.

Sid: It was just a guy sitting in a chair (mostly) and telling a ghost story, which is what the Irish excel at. It was fine.

Nurse: If Quinn is firing on all cylinders, I'll bet it can be quite good. The Off-Broadway run got great reviews.

November 10, 2010 at 6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me again! You might like (or deplore) this

November 11, 2010 at 4:29 AM  
Blogger Eryl said...

Just looking at that chair makes me feel slightly queasy.

November 12, 2010 at 12:02 PM  

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