According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Let Us Go Then You and I and the Ted Haggard Monologues

(Part of the Undergroundzero Festival)

Reviewed by Cindy Pierre

Let Us Go Then You and I is a marvelous, one-act homage to the Dramaticules of Samuel Beckett. In it, three mysterious, cackling women gather together at a park to relive their past and dramatize their regrets. On a stage covered with rose petals, the three ladies break bread and porcelain coffee cups together in a world without consequences and rules.

Time has elapsed since the last time they were together, and they reminisce cryptically about their lives. In so doing, they cast away the conventions of womanhood, and one character even muses about killing a child, an act unacceptable for the nurturing sex. They want and wish and have unfulfilled lives, but there is no sorrow. They flee from the doldrums of cleaning households, and embrace the stillness they provide for one another. But even on the outskirts of reality, secrets are revealed and cattiness exists.

The direction by James Dacre is rigid and bordering on the nonsensical, but it is the kind of fare that works for this existential piece. For Beckett fans, Let Us Go Then You and I is a welcome addition to the genre. For the newly exposed, it is a fine introduction.

The family and associates of Ted Haggard, disgraced former pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, are the subjects of performer and writer Michael Yates Crowley's material in The Ted Haggard Monologues. Ted Haggard got into hot water in November 2006 when former male prostitute Mike Jones denounced Art, his pseudonym and naughty alter ego, as his homosexual lover and methamphetamine drug buyer. Initially adamant about not ever having made Jones' acquaintance, Haggard later confessed to both of his claims after relentless media pressure.

Apart from a news report broadcast on a television set, Crowley is the only attraction for this one-man show, but he fulfills that responsibility with ease. There are minimal sound and lighting cues, but when utilized they convey the irony, darkness or cloudiness of the characters in case Crowley's intentions are lost. They're not. In a fictional examination of the proceedings and sentiments surrounding the media frenzy, Crowley darts from one character and back again like an air hockey puck defying the slots under Michael Rau's direction. Using a podium and a super sized spiral notebook to introduce each character, he turns into Ted's wife, sons and his eldest son's fiance, several Reverends, and of course Mike Jones, represented here as the character Rick.

Crowley is multi-talented, writing entertaining monologues that blend fact with invention. An eerie depiction of Gayle, Ted's wife represented here as Christie, and Rick are particularly compelling, with Rick besting all with his indignation, pain, and derailment. The characters, however, are not all unique. Some of the nuances and inflections are shared by several, and there are lapses in and out of persona. Also, some of the characters, such as Diane and Michael, have call and response monologues to each other that interfere with the caricatures. It simply works better when the writing is not grounded in reality and the depictions are not interacting with one another.

Crowley definitely has a strong point of view about Ted Haggard and his Christianity, and it shines through in this work. Whether you share in his perspective or not is immaterial to the enjoyment of this piece. He sells his opinions, and that's what matters most.


Collective Unconscious. $15. July 26th at 9:30pm. 279 Church Street NYC, NY 10013
Tickets: 212.352.3101Venue: 212.254.5277

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