Opened June 5, 1993; reviewed June 12; runs through June 28.
With: Willard Morgan, Lance Anderson.
In vastly contrasting performance pieces, Willard Morgan and Lance Anderson examine the influences of their respective fathers on their lives. Surrounded by paintings from the current showing at Norris Fine Art Gallery (Theatre Row’s newest addition), the actors make a setting where visual and performing arts meet to offer an interesting environment of artistic gestalt.
Morgan leads off telling of his rage-aholic New York father, who is equally capable of tossing out a punch line or pointing a gun with arbitrary alacrity. The fine line between the father’s humor and his reactionary temper provides the bulk of Morgan’s material.
Morgan establishes his dad’s irascible persona, as well as the intensity of his own narration, on one level that rarely varies — a lack of layering that lessens the dimensionality of the characters.
Neither Morgan’s feelings for his father, nor his father’s for him, is clearly defined in the quick, clipped delivery style that at times is difficult to understand.
In contrast, Anderson’s presentation is articulate and controlled. His humor rolls out easily in his own charismatic style. Anderson’s father-son relationship was that of teacher-student, player-coach, best friends, and from the way he tells it, quite enviable.
As a child Anderson dreamed of being a cowboy, this desire changing over time to baseball and finally to acting — good thing, too, because this is a performer to keep an eye on.
Lengthy monologues are always a difficult workout for the performer. In the case of Anderson, the performance is a insightfully humorous pleasure from start to finish.