Show Up

 By Tulis McCall
Look, I don’t like “fun” per se.  I know a lot of you do, but for the most part what other folks consider “fun” I find puzzling.  Sitting outside getting third degree burns watching baseball.  Hopping on a sail boat to sail to nowhere before you turn around and head back home.  Strapping long narrow pieces of metal onto you feet and purposely going to the top of a snowy mountain so that you can figure out how to, well, slide down – and then do it over and over again.  No.  No thank you.
Also on  my list of things I do not like is Audience Participation of any kind.  Entertain me.  Do not ask me to work for you.
I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to enjoy myself in the extreme when I attended Peter Michael Marino‘s performance of Show Up at the Pit Loft last week.  Marino takes the old saw of using our suggestions to plot out an improvised story.  But that is just the icing on the cake.  Prior to that, he ushers us down an autobiographical lane that is both hilarious and sincere.  He IS the cowardly lion – but he is the one who has his courage back because he is up there on the stage about to fly without a net.  He coaxes suggestions out of us with a sweet but in-your-face attitude and sticks them on the rear wall. A recent event.  An addiction.  Love story incident.   Family fact.  Etc.  This whole process takes roughly half the show time, which is fine with all of us.
With the help of an assistant (again an audience member) the stage is rearranged after each pre-arranged cue that comes whenever Marino is finished with the particular segment he is creating.  Slowly the giant post-its are removed from the back wall until there is only one left, and Marino ties the show up with a giant bow.  After that we are all invited onto the stage for some virtual champagne.  Thanks are exchanged all around, and before the group photo, Marino asks that we do not hang around and speak to him after the show because he is a nervous fellow.
Entertaining us is one thing, but actually conversing with us, well…. let’s not go there.
DO go see this last show on the 23rd.  It is a spot on piece of “let’s have fun” that works on so many levels.  But you have to Show Up.  Ain’t that the truth.
Socially Anxious Improvised Solo Comedy “Show Up” Lets Audience Steer PlotNEW YORK CITY – In Show Up, award-winning solo show performer, producer and SOLOCOM creator Peter Michael Marino (Desperately Seeking the Exit, Late with Lance!) uses his decades of solo performance expertise to turn the often vilified tropes of the genre on their heads. Marino exploits an arsenal of Post-it® notes to compile and transform the challenging and enlightening real-life experiences of the audience into a single vibrant life-story that is familiar, completely fresh, and unique each time. Chance elements are increased as audience members are engaged to cue lights, design the set, and direct. Show Up provides a wild, unpredictable ride for the audience as Marino navigates this high wire, simultaneously commenting on social anxiety and performance challenges. Ultimately, Show Up demonstrates that the value of truth in autobiographical performance is totally subjective.

WHAT: Show Up
WHO: Semi-written & Performed by Peter Michael Marino
Directed by Michole Biancosino & The Audience
8:00 p.m. Thursday, February 23.


Peter Michael Marino is the creator/co-producer of SOLOCOM, which has launched over 400 world-premiere comedies at The People’s Improv Theater. His internationally acclaimed solo comedy Desperately Seeking the Exitchronicled the unmaking of his West End musical flop Desperately Seeking Susan – receiving 5-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and Adelaide Fringe, and a London transfer. His 2015 solo chat show spoof Late with Lance! played everywhere from NYC to London. Directing credits include: Amy Marcs’ Nice T*ts, Mark Demayo’s 20 & Out, and Mark Giordano’s Mad Man. His production company credits include David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man HamletDavid Mills: Shame!, Charles’ Moby Alpha, and Joe’s NYC Bar. More info at:

Tulis McCall

Author: Tulis McCall

For my money, the theatre is up there in the ten top reasons to be human. I leave my home and go sit in a dark room with complete strangers and watch actors do their stuff because I want to be inspired. I’m asking to be involved. I’m volunteering to be led down any old path they choose as long as they don’t let go of my hand. And if I see a show, and it is NOT so very good – I will try to divert you, because I don’t want you to come to the temple when the preaching isn’t up to snuff. I will bar the door, I will swing from rafters, I will yell FIRE just to set your feet on a path that does not lead to disappointment. Do something different with your evening I will say. Save your money for dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in months because you are too frigging busy. Go take a walk with your dog or your child or your significant other. Go to bed early, I will say. Don’t come to the theatre when it is less than it can be. I’m an usher snob, and that’s all there is to it.

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