Coffee Dad, Chicken Mom, and the Fabulous Buddha Boi
nytheatre.com review by Maggie Cino
February 26, 2009
Coffee Dad, Chicken Mom, and the Fabulous Buddha Boi is a fresh spin on the tried-and-true autobiographical one-man show. Dad, Mom, and Son each have a turn to tell their story, and through the prism of their experiences we see the crystal of this family.
Dad, overwhelmed by a wife he can't talk to and a homosexual son he doesn't understand, seeks refuge in the local coffee shop where for a few minutes a day he gets to be just a guy with a regular drink order. But soon the coffee shop provides even more than that, as the aphorisms printed on the cups become guideposts of his days.
Mom is desperately trying to be a model parent. She's reading all the right books and attending all the right meetings but there's nothing but censure at every turn; whether it's her son going through a dark and gloomy phase despite the love she piles on him or a member of her PFLAG group criticizing her devotion despite all the meetings she's attending.
Like father like Son, and in the last monologue the son is searching for enlightenment not in a coffee cup, but in a list of mantras in the "mantra" entry on Wikipedia. His relationship with his childhood best friend has been shattered, and he is desperately trying to cope with the fact that even with love his homosexuality is going to make the world a very hard place to live in.
Trevor Schmidt takes on the challenge of playing all three characters and is most relaxed with Dad's everyday simplicity, but it is Nick Green's writing that makes the well-traveled material in this show fresh and emotional. There is curiosity, compassion, and even some wry profundity, like the message on Dad's final coffee cup, "Walk, or perhaps run, or if you need to crawl, towards what you have and not what you wish for."