Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Review
(I am) Nobody's Lunch
A cabaret about how we know what we know when nobody knows if everyone else is lying and when someone or something wants to have you for lunch.
Just in case you overlooked this show's subtitle, the introductory monologue by Caitlin Miller makes sure to identify it as a cabaret, which means no plot and prompts her to urge the audience not to get confused. And so the show moves forward with songs, monologues and interviews (with the interviewers taking on the roles of those they've interviewed). A mysterious bag emitting mysterious meowing sounds makes its appearance throughout and ultimately ties everything together. One of the running riffs involve Jessica Lynch. Apparently the group called up every Jessica or J. Lynch in the U.S. phonebook and talked to them about whether they think THE Jessica Lynch is real (who was she again? Oh yeah, Saving Private Lynch). The versatile Caitlin Miller plays all the Jessicas. There are also bits and pieces about one young woman's (Jennifer R. Morris) experience growing up in a cult, and being told by everyone in group therapy that she was a slut. Another running rumination is about whether or not Tom Cruise is gay. As the cabaret veers towards an overview of America and its government, the question hanging over everything is how the interview subjects (and by extension the audience members) know what they know and how they know whether something is real.
The Civilians, according to their own theme song (not in this show), "think pretty hard about stuff… [and] do little and mostly inconclusive research." They also don't write things down, and don't record any interviews. So what ends up in their show is highly selective. Fine. And a good deal of fun, with plenty of opportunity for the group to display its gift for theatricality and humor.
As you watch and listen you'll find that as the ensemble metamorphoses into their interviewees they seem to be answering questions about whether we know what is true about the war, what news sources we depend on. Writer/ director Steven Cosson isn't treating the right wing of our country unfairly but is just doing it subjectively, presenting these moments as truth, not interpretation.
The cast applies a comfortable, straight-faced acting approach to their many characters and their solo songs feel torch-like. The group numbers are whimsical, sometimes even with chorus-line choreography (by Karinne Keitley) to accompany Michael Friedman's more showtune-eque songs.
At the end of the day (to be exact, ninety minutes), the hopeful message is there for the taking, if you want it: Don't be anybody's lunch. Have hope in yourself, in your knowledge, and even in the government -- and give yourself that light at the end of the tunnel, dammit. You deserve it.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
>6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by our editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.