Dallas — Sit back, relax and watch some other hapless guy try to find a seat in the theater before the show starts—and all the way through the show!—in Where Do I Sit?, a charming Laughter League/NYGoofs production at the Festival of Independent Theatres.
This new work of mime and laughter, written, directed and featuring veteran clown and master mime Dick Monday, begins before the house lights go down. Monday, tall, thin and looking awfully embarrassed, moves apologetically along the front row, hoping to land an empty seat with a great view.
Ah, but the ruthlessly vigilant theater watchdog (a seen-it-all Shawn Patrello, an improv expert and founder of the comedy troupe Rubber Chicken) is not to be taken in by that old ruse. He quickly directs the tall dude off the stage, ignoring the poor man’s plea that he has to sit close because he has “corneal abrasions.” Umhmm.
Not to be so easily defeated, our seatless adventurer sneaks back in and right onto the stage where two chairs sit on either side of roped-back velvet curtains. Not only is he tempted by these available onstage accommodations, but a sturdy chair also wings hilariously and pendulum-like between the curtains, just teasing the poor man to find a place to sit.
A pretty woman comically manages to drag and carry six suitcases onto the stage (Tiffany Monday, the partner, wife and famed clown in her own right), and tempts him to try to be part of the show. Alas, the pitiless watchdog always shows up to wreck our hero’s modest plans.
Graceful and Chaplineque in his ardent attempts to fit in, Monday evokes belly laughs and applause for his persistence, no matter what he’s doing.
Between attempts to take a load off, the trio add other clown and mime sketches. I loved watching them make costumes from torn tissue paper or ridiculously spinning hubcaps balanced on sticks on their foreheads. Wow. The Living Statue bit, worked to the tune of "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo," is clumsy and graceful at once, inducing the laugh of childhood at these sweet goofballs.
From time to time, we see the red velvet curtain part and the pendulum chair swing rapidly across the space, like some illusive symbol of rest in a feverish series of performances. We’re laughing at the repeatedly thwarted efforts of these clowns to get something done, and at the same time, we’re also laughing at our own busy, busy self-importance.
That’s why it feels so good when the actors step center stage and we applaud each other all together.
Where Do I Sit? continues in the following performance blocks:
- 5pm Saturday, July 28
- 5pm Sunday, July 29
- 8pm Friday, Aug. 3
- 2pm Saturday, Aug. 4
The 20th Festival of Independent Theatres
July 13- August 4, 2018
Bath House Cultural Center,
521 E. Lawther Drive, Dallas
Tickets and passes go on sale in late June
Call 800-617-6904 or visit www.festivalofindependenttheatres.org