An Evening of Semi-autobiographical Highly Self-Indulgent…
nytheatre.com review by Neal Utterback
August 15, 2004
Well... I can’t say that I was lied to.
Lawrence Goodman and Gersh Kuntzman’s An Evening of Semi-Autobiographical Highly Self-Indulgent Theater lives up to its name. Offering little more substance than one of its overused phallic jokes, the play feels as long as its title. To its credit, the piece, set up as three playlets, seems to attempt to comment on the state of theatre today.
The first playlet called "The Gersh Kuntzman Story" brings together the future, past, and yes, from out of the audience, the present Gersh Kuntzman. Kuntzman's life seems to be about his utter inability to impress the ladies.
In "The Making of This Play" we get to see the back story to the making of a children's play originally about two turtles. Through rewrites and an ambitious director's machinations, the play becomes an attempt to disrobe the lead actress. As an examination of the commercialization of art and the degeneration of modern theatre, this playlet is the most interesting of the three. Unfortunately, the dialogue does not live up to the playwright's aspirations.
The third ditty once again breaks the fourth wall as actors stumble through a scene which degenerates into an ad for the Fringe. Making use of the classic gag of people chasing each other around with buckets of water that end up aimed at the audience, the play almost found a truly exciting moment. I only wish I had been doused with water.
The play is searching for a sincere commentary and I imagine that the writers think they are making statements by using crude, common humor. But ultimately the play is mired down by a bog of cliche Jewish jokes, sexual stereotypes, and endless self-loathing. The production is directed somewhat amateurishly by Eric Oleson; the actors often seem uncertain of their lines and/or their staging, giving the appearance of unfortunate improv sketch comedy. The one exception is the always quirky Kenny Wade Marshall (of the improv troupe Rash Behaviour), who manages to tread water as the play sinks below him.