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The Tricky Part
-- Review of The Tricky Part during it's off-Broadway run by Macey Levin
Moran begins the tale by referring to a photo which shows him as a twelve year old standing in a kayak; he regales us with humorous anecdotes and one-liners about his experiences at Christ the King parochial school in Denver, Colorado. As treasurer of student council, he enjoyed calling the bank and saying, "Hello, this is Christ the King calling. . ." Moran speaks warmly about the school and his early childhood.
As an older man who has earned success as an actor and who now lives a life that suits him, he contacts Bob, a counselor at a camp church, who changed his life. When Moran was 12 years old, as in the photo, he and his friend George accompanied the seminarian to a small ranch to help Bob do some work for a weekend. There Bob introduced Martin to sex. The combination of curiosity and fear impelled the boy to allow it to occur.
The show explores the complexity of Moran's reactions and feelings as he reconstructs memories of the incident and speaks with Bob. He shares his confusion and pain with the audience while he relates the story without rancor or recriminations. Moran recalls his life since that moment while he reflects on a shattered adolescence and the man it has produced. Bidding farewell to Bob, Moran hopes the meeting will put the gruesome past to rest.
The work is well structured and involving, but it is not a play. It is a very affecting story nicely told and effectively conveying its messages. It is another in a long line of one-person shows that reveal the author's life and provides a platform from which to proselytize, pronounce a public mea culpa, expiate sins real or imagined and otherwise indulge personal emotions.
Whether this is Moran's intention is secondary to his performance and its impact. He is an accomplished actor who deftly touches his audience's mind and heart. His narrative and demeanor immediately involve us. The story is replete with digressions that complement and enhance the core of his experience.
The very simple set and props, a high stool, a table on which is perched the young boy's photograph and a journal (plus the ubiquitous bottle of water to slake a dry throat), focus the attention on the actor and his words. Seth Barrish's direction and Moran's delivery keep the potentially maudlin story from becoming lachrymose and sodden.
Moran's artful relation of his experiences is a cautionary and absorbing tale.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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