It is said that one of the greatest human fears is speaking in public. Imagine, if you will, walking onto a stage and the only thing standing between you and utter humiliation are your words and this:
That’s the extent of the staging for St. Nicholas, the one-man show at the Irish Repertory Studio Theater (the smallest theater in Manhattan). Man, I love the Irish Rep. If I had some extra money, I’d give it to them. One-man shows are such a crap shoot. The potential for catastrophe is pretty high and I always feel awful when it doesn’t work out. And while this show didn’t quite achieve greatness, it was a pleasant night out.
St. Nicholas was written by Irish fireball Connor McPherson. It’s the story of a drunken, washed-up theater critic (a bit of payback, Mr. McPherson?) who becomes involved with a beautiful young actress. It comes to pass that the actress belongs to a sect of vampires. The vampires give him a new vocation: fetching food for them. There’s a seemingly endless supply of supple, young club kids who are eager to party.
I was seated in the front row and I always find sitting in the front row to be too much of an intrusion into the performance. I prefer some distance between the stage and I. I become too self conscious about keeping my feet off the stage and trying to look lively for the actors. I always try to get lost in a performance but it’s impossible for me if the performance is right in my lap.
The other one-man show I just saw was Long Story Short by Collin Quinn, which is about to open on Broadway at the Helen Hayes (the smallest Broadway house).
They’re making a big deal out of the fact that it’s directed by Jerry Seinfeld. I’m always suspicious of stand-up comics who do one man shows because often times, it’s nothing more than their stand up act with a pricier ticket. But I was willing to gamble on this because I’m a big fan of Herr Quinn. It’s a great premise. Quinn discusses the demise of the various empires throughout civilization. Yes, we’re next.
He came out and seemed hesitant and unsure of the material. This show ran for several weeks Off Broadway, so his performance should have been a lot smoother than it was. I think he actually might have lost his place on one or two occasions. But I laughed and I guess that’s what it’s all about.
Polish it up, Colin.