Career Suicide

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide, Written and Performed by Chris Gerhard; Photo by Clay Anderson.

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide, Written and Performed by Chris Gerhard; Photo by Clay Anderson.

By Margret Echeverria

There was a time millennials won’t remember, when friendships were made in person, usually in someone’s living room, sharing bits of ourselves in old soft chairs under imitation Tiffany lamps as we talked into the night, sharing a couple liters of ginger ale from a green plastic bottle.  Actor-Playwrite, Chris Gethard’s Career Suicide, invites us into this space for a get-to-know-Chris conversation.  The stage is surrounded by ‘70’s Ethan Allen shabby chic – you may remember when we all wanted to feel like we lived in a cabin year-round – couches of plaid cushions and hard dark wood.  There are even a couple of table lamps in shades turned amber with age.  Front row audience members sit on these historical pieces creating the intimate space subtly designed by Brendan Boston.  Seventy-five minutes later, we have met a sweetheart of a mess of a man and are left wondering why we didn’t get his number so that we can invite him to our next dinner party.

This is a one-person show, but it is not a showcase for how many people Gethard can become in a very short period of time.  Gethard begins the show as though he is introducing the piece and will walk off the stage to then walk back on again to start.  But he never walks off.  He just starts from that quiet place and makes us his friend.  There is no sweat to create a wild scandalous tale that may or may not be true while our kidneys drop out of our bodies to make room for breathless laughter at his larger than life life.  Gethard simply tells us the real absurd truth about himself, his longtime companion, Clinical Depression, and the rather unconventional, often scary dark, sometimes slightly scandalous, truly silly trip they have taken together.

Before you bail crying, this is too familiar because Clinical Depression is a character we have all met before, hang on a second; it’s about to get real.  If you grew up in North Jersey, like Gethard, you learned how to ignore depression, not talk about it, toughen up, make fun of it – push it down into the plaid cushions.  Director Kimberly Senior employs a raw method of storytelling that is without overly theatric distractions.  Nothing feels contrived.  We’re compelled by the truth Gethard is relating because it feels like he trusts us, like we have a common knowledge of darkness and he will be the one tonight to fearlessly talk about it and awaken the humor that lives in it.  Also, to the delight of this reviewer, Gethard improvises moments in the show in which he connects directly with audience members.  The humor is risky, edgy, slightly dangerous because it is dark – a little disgusting – and the result is that because he’s made it clear that he trusts us, we trust and come along.  It’s like we’re at a small house party that has gone quiet because someone is making things really fun by truly being himself.

Gethard wants you to know that this bitch of a disease makes for setbacks one must forgive in oneself; it brings even more insanity in the guise of those in authority who have endeavored to help – and in this part of the show we find a little titillating scandal, if we are hankering for it.  But more importantly Gethard emphasizes that depression does not have to stop anyone from having a full, absurd, love-filled life and, okay, a good story to tell.

This reviewer recommends dropping into the cozy living room of Career Suicide, settling into the amber light and taking a trip through Gethard’s life, from a bone-breaking power dwarf who terrorized his family as a kid, to college where his consciousness left his body and went on a walk about in a batman mask, to a long slow dance with death, to professional help that nearly killed him, to an acting career on the fringe and finally to the quirks of love and the wisdom that come with survival. Gethard is an excellent host who will make sure you have a good time.

CAREER SUICIDE presented by Judd Apatow, Mike Berkowitz and Brian Stern

Written and performed by Chris Gethard, Directed by Kimberly Senior

Set by Brendan Boston, Lights by Jen Schriever and Trevor Dewey, Sound by Ryan Rumery, Production Stage Management by Joshua Kohler

Producers, Mike Lavoie and Carlee Briglia.  Co-Producers, David De Almo and Rebecca Crigler

Lynn Redgrave Theater, 45 Bleeker Street, New York.  TICKETS through Sunday November 27th.

Margret Echeverria

Author: Margret Echeverria

In the summer of 1978, while watching a performance of A Murder is Announced on the London stage, Margret fell in love with the theatre. Born and raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Margret came to New York City in 1994. She was cast in the company of Newmyn’s Nose Limitless Theatre Limited in the summer of 1995 and eventually became a member of the company’s board. Margret starred in the critically acclaimed and award winning short film Jigsaw Venus by Dean Capsalis in 2000 (Best Actress, Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival) and her film career was begun. She played the adorable Fag Hag, Audrey, in both A Four Letter Word (2007) as well as Violet Tendencies (2010), films by Casper Andreas and Jesse Archer. Recently, she had a co-starring role in Max Emerson's new film, Hooked. Always sentimental about performing for a live audience, Margret penned and performed Orangerie, a one-woman show exploring the subject of finding love while traveling non-traditional avenues, which premiered at the Bowery Poetry Club in November of 2005 and ran through the spring of 2006 to critical acclaim. After Margret’s family survived the death of their son, Gavin, to SIDS in 2011, she penned her latest one woman show, Finding Gavin, which premiered in New York City in 2015. Margret has appeared in sketch comedy scenes as Nurse Margret in P. Diddy’s television series, Making the Band; she says Puffy is a marvelous partner in improvisational comedy. Margret has a BFA in Acting from Rockford College and also studied Acting at Regent’s College in London, Classical Voice and Opera at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and Acting at Sally Johnson Studio here in New York City. Margret is also a published poet. She lives in Yonkers, NY with her husband, Tattoo Artist Bobby Cimorelli, and daughter, Alyson.

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