Dallas — It’s hard not to compare dates to your first love, the one that shapes your expectations about romance and makes you feel that flutter in your stomach you’d do anything to feel just one more time. It’s even harder when that first love is Harrison Ford, in all his cinematic incarnations.
Bad Dates, Or What Killed That Monkey In Indiana Jones Only Makes Me Stronger, Chicagoan Eileen Tull’s one-woman show at the Dallas Solo Fest, makes an excellent point. How in the world can any regular man measure up to the guy who’s both a scoundrel and a scholar, a hero and an adventurer, a father figure and a sex symbol, who pilots helicopters to save the innocent and flaunts an earring without care like some super-masculine, modern-day pirate?
It’s enough to send a girl straight back to the movie screen for another go-round.
Tull’s friendly presence on stage pulls audiences in easily—she’s that funny, self-deprecating friend you have, the one who tells all the best stories at the parties. And that’s part of the magic that makes her show work.
The rest of the magic is the stories themselves and how Tull brings the awkwardness of teenage angst to life, the hopelessness of adult heartbreak, the hungry yearning to belong to another person and know that you are loved.
Everything she has experienced is so relatable, on surface levels for some and on deeper, intimate levels for others, for the kids who grew up nerdy and were told later that their interests in things like Star Wars or Indiana Jones were unattractive or immature. We’re so often told to change in small (or big) ways to fit someone else, and Tull’s work perfectly illustrates the attempt to recapture those missing pieces of self.
Tull’s acting style is subtle and engaging, switching between charmingly awkward scenes (so realistic when you are, or know, that person who finds themselves telling their life story to unsuspecting strangers) and the conversational storytelling that makes it hard to remember that she is even on a stage, that you're not just hanging out with her one-on-one. It’s a good mix that frames her stories well.
To watch Bad Dates is to wonder how on earth Tull couldn’t find a partner who fully appreciates her nerdy passions and earnest humor, even if she is, as she puts it, a challenging individual. But aren’t we all, to some degree? Tull and her stories make you laugh, but they also really make you think—about disappointment, acceptance, the search for what happiness really means, and that little bit of unsquashed hope that maybe life really will turn out like the movies.
» Bad Dates continues with the following performances:
- 10:30pm | Saturday, June 4
» Click here to see our listing for Bad Dates
» Our interview with Eileen Tull
» To see a full schedule of shows, go here
» See our DSF special section for more interviews, reviews and more