My Date With Troy Davis
nytheatre.com review by Heather McAllister
August 10, 2012
How does one become a good person? Are our intentions enough? Our actions? Or is it something more? Those are the questions and struggles presented by playwright/performer Daniel Glenn in his clever and thoughtful new one man piece, My Date with Troy Davis.
Glenn explores the complex elements of a murder case - the titular Troy Davis – his crime, sentencing, death date, witness revisions, Sister Helen Prejean, and more, and finds how it mirrors elements of his life and effects him personally, all revealed to us through puppets, charts, music and monologue. We meet the victim, the widow, the alleged perpetrator, several Supreme Court Justices, ghosts of girlfriends past and crushes present.
I love this show. Glenn is an energetic, expressive performer, funny as hell, with an intriguing subject: what is our duty to our fellow humans? What makes a good person? What is a life worth?
On the journey to finding his inner goodness - including failures and successes alike - we travel with Glenn to SCOTUS (the Supreme Court of the United States), to teaching in the lowest slum in India, and to the crime scene of Troy Davis. We endure a car crash, an endless plane trip, and most importantly we share Glenn’s soul searchings and find our own goodness along the way.
My favorite moment hands down is a drunken Facebook messaging song with a Sondheim like tune where Glenn sticks his neck out and boldly writes and sings: “Dear Girl in Alexander Class,” which takes us from:
“I’m writing you this Facebook message
To see, if you, would have a beer with me”
to: (It’s been ten minutes and she hasn’t responded …Abort! Abort! Abort the mission!)
“I was totally kidding before. Like I would ask you on a date.”
to: “Forgive me. I’m very drunk. I just wanted to hold it. For a second. With you. That’s all. Good night.”
Very sweet. Very frank too. The song is painfully, hilariously honest and relatable. As is Daniel Glenn.
As we follow Glenn’s journey both physically and spiritually, the progression and growth – though natural – are still entertaining. And although the show is comedic, and it may have taken him awhile to find this out, Glenn’s giant heart and love for his fellow humans is very clear, and very special.
He reminds me of the most special person in the world to me, my late mother. My mother was a teacher. She chose to work on the poor side of town because she wanted to make a difference, wanted to help the children who needed her most. Her favorite expression and philosophy was “from the mud grows the lotus.” So it was especially moving to me that Glenn chose to teach in India, with children of the lowest caste, and that seeing a poor child in a white dress, playing in the dirt, brought that same image to him: an impossibly beautiful flower blooming against all odds.
I highly recommend this funny, informative and touching show, and hope to see Daniel Glenn’s work continue to grow and bloom.