Dallas — Everyone knows what it's like to throw something together at the last minute and then realize the product is not ready for prime time. That's what Jeff Swearingen's An American Asshole in Paris feels like at the Dallas Solo Fest.
Swearingen, a talented writer and performer who has been praised many times by myself and other critics, uses a basic outline for this solo show to tell a true story that he's recounted many times to friends. Telling it to pals, possibly at a bar or on a long car ride, is one thing. To make it into a solo performance without considering structure, organization or a through-line results in a painful experience for the audience.
His story is about that time when he visited a couple in Toulousse, France, after meeting them a few years earlier in Ireland. He sets it up by offering some truths about himself, including that he was once frightened of long-distance travel, especially on his own. On this French trip, his hosts are not what he thinks, and honestly, it seems they're more assholish than he is. He's just tired. And annoyed.
Join the club. While an abridged version might have been funny to the listener, here, it's just not very interesting.
It rambles and rambles, and several opportunites to tie one part of the story to another are missed. He clearly didn't rehearse it much, if at all, as there are moments of dead space that he fills with his own improvisational "silly me" affectations.
This Asshole is the lowpoint of the Festival.
» Jeff Swearingen's An American Asshole in Paris has one more performance:
- Friday, June 12 @ 10:30 p.m.
» Read our Q&A with Swearingen here.
And you can follow our coverage of the 2015 Dallas Solo Fest in our special section, here.