Sunday Fringe: Taking a Dive into the Absurd

chrisdavisapocalypsenowpostcardfront-1_origMy Sunday Fringe viewing took a dive into the absurd. I began my afternoon by catching One Man Apocalypse Now in the smelly basement of St. Mary’s Lyceum. Full disclosure: at the conclusion of this show, I thought—holy Hell, what can I possibly say about this? I have never seen the movie this play is based on, so as much as I enjoyed this production, I honestly have no idea how to describe the plot.

First the praise: the one man behind this one-man show, Chris Davis, is an incredible performer. He deftly embodied I’m guessing about twelve distinct characters over the course of an hour. At times he told the audience who he was (“I’m Laurence Fishburne, age fourteen…), and other times he transitioned without comment.

Also, this piece was surprisingly funny, particularly the part where Davis got meta. At one juncture he delivered the line: “you send a theater-artist to assassinate me?” In another scene he took on the persona of a Playboy Bunny and pantomimed some rather risqué moves.

I left feeling conflicted not about the show, but if I ever actually want to watch Apocalypse Now in its movie form. I kind of enjoy the idea that my only impression of this iconic movie comes from Davis’ interpretation.

After catching One Man Apocalypse Now I jetted over to Alphabet City, the new, beautiful, bookstore opened by City of Asylum to catch a showing of Eva and Hillary a production by Tardigrade Theatricals. The premise of this show is rather interesting—Hillary Clinton post-election is sequestered in a cabin watching CNN and binging on alcohol and raw cookie dough when suddenly Eva Peron appears for a meeting.

eva-hillaryThanks to the strong acting chops of the actresses playing Hillary and Eva I was able to sink into the action unquestionably. The strongest moments were in the ribald exchange between Hillary and Eva regarding Hillary’s likeability and the nature of being a woman with power.

In the last ten minutes of the show Donald Trump shows up to taunt the “girls”. After he gets grabby with Eva, Hillary pulls out some Kung Fu and knocks him out. I wish that was where the writers decided to end this show but instead the audience was treated to a rather disturbing scene of Hillary pressing Donald’s face into her crotch as she launched into an orgasmic-tinged monologue about how even if she didn’t break the glass ceiling she sure put some cracks in it. After climaxing, Hillary drops Donald back on the floor and Eva knocks ash from her cigarette onto his prostrate body.

Dear reader, I believe that true revolution is not about taking on the behavior of our oppressors but is actually about redefining power for a new, better age. Unfortunately, the end of this play only reinforced the “if they can do it, we can do it too” kind of cheap feminism our culture so embraces a la’ capitalistic “girl power”. What started out as a play with an interesting critique of likeability politics, unfortunately, lost its way.

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Special thanks to the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival for complimentary press passes. For more information about Fringe, click here.