By Holli Harms
Tim Crouch is a sublime performer, his work is mind-bending and at the same time intimate. Don’t miss this marvelous performance.
Tim Crouch is British. His home country still has Kings and Queens and the emotional, and historical complications that come with that so his understanding of the death of a kingdom and how it relates to the death of our lives is profound. The power of simply being born into the “right” family is part of this exploration, as well as what goes on between citizens and their governments.
Lear is King and divides up his country among the children who love him the most, but they don’t. They only play the virtual reality part of adoring doting children. Playing our parts in life often creates disconnection, as did Zoom, as is the impending dystopian electronic world bearing down on us. When we try to once again connect it often turns clumsy or may not work at all, and someone may die.
Tim Crouch is an exquisite musician of words. He is a fierce storyteller giving us stories that bend and slither in the telling but always coming round and back to us. In his current show Truth’s a Dog Must to Kennel he examines what exactly is the plan for us. And is there even one before us to guide us along?
The elevator pitch for this performance is: “King Lear meets stand-up meets the metaverse.” And as intriguing as that is, it doesn’t conjure the existential complexity of this solo performance. Crouch is an inventive master of the twists and turns of words and images that invite an audience into his thought processes.
In this show, he is a performer playing the Fool in King Lear, as well as a VR mouthpiece of a virtual version of the play. He is a commentator to and on the audience, and he is a man looking for answers, both with us and for us so we are never separate from his and our experience. As such, the lights never go down in the audience. We are in this together. This is both our real and virtual reality. But most important, is our togetherness.
But what is together? What is the point any more of theater? Of storytelling? Wearing a Virtual Reality headset he points out and comments on the blending of these two realities, the ones we are having in our seats, and the ones that we are witnessing in front of us. He shares his insight into us; one ate too much and has heartburn, one suffers from Tinnitus, one is a chancer who left their spot in SRO and confiscated the seat front row, one is bored, and one is fully engrossed. With the VR headset on he also sees the scenes of Lear and how they play out, each member trying to destroy the other, trying to f-up each other’s lives and kingdoms in order to come out on top.
When the VR headset is off Crouch speaks directly to us, working out questions and parables and telling tales that both illuminate the conflict of Lear and the conflict of us. One such tale is of a family performing on one of the many TV talent shows. Crouch’s descriptive/non-descriptive recount of their “performance” will have you laughing and gasping.
SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street) Truth’s A Dog Must Be A Kennel will play nine performances only: December 28, 30, January 2, 4, 5, and 8 at 7PM, December 29 at 9pm, and January 5 and 7 at 8:30pm. Tickets range from $40.75 – $50.75 (including fees) are available online from SoHoPlayhouse.com or at the Box Office Tuesday – Sunday after 4PM. Discounts are available for groups, students, and seniors. Darren Lee Cole is the Artistic Director of SoHo Playhouse.
For tickets and information click HERE