by Raphael Badagliacca
A remarkable one-man show has returned to NYC for a limited run, but there is nothing limited about it – not its reach, not its timeliness, not the depth to which it touches us.
Before the nameless character played by Richard Hoehler appears on stage, the audience is confronted by a set strewn with rubbish and three panels that resemble a sky with shreds of clouds. The first thing the actor comments on is the sky, and how taken he is by it.
What proceeds is an 80-minute tour-de-force made up of singing, dancing, and words… words… words… sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always riveting and poignant. We learn that like the rubbish on the ground, the educated, homeless man before us has been discarded by his own previous presumptions of how things are and should be. As he recounts the history of his shedding of those notions, punctuated with passionate insights, we cannot help but reflect on our own situation and the things happening all around us every day.
This is a Rabelaisian rant sometimes delivered in subtle, sophisticated patterns of rhyme. Out of fragments – movie lines, everyday insults, common phrases, TV sitcom songs, lists of lists, memorable dates, media events – emerges something whole striving to be transcendent.
“We matter more than we think,” the character says. And later, “So that’s why I pray in my own pagan way.”
I OF THE STORM
Written by RJ Bartholomew; directed by Janice L. Goldberg; original scenic design, Mark Symczak; additional scenic design, Brian Dudkiewicz; lighting design, Michael Abrams; sound design, Craig Lenti; costume design, David Withrow.
With: Richard Hoehler.
The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street, NYC) through October 29. Monday-Thursday 7pm; Friday-Saturday 8pm; Matinees: Wednesday & Saturday at 2 pm; Sunday at 3 pm
EXCEPTIONS: No Shows Tue 9/26, Wed 9/27, Mon 10/2, Wed 10/4, Sat 10/7, Mon 10/9, Thu 10/12; Fri 10/13; Mon 10/16; Wed 10/25 (Sun 9/24 at 7:30 pm; Sat 9/30 Mat at 3 pm; Fri 10/20 at 7:30 pm)