The tribulations of a struggling young thesp are given an occasionally amusing, mostly bumbling outing by scripter-performer Jackie Honikman in “Jackie Live: For Real.” Produced by thesp Rachael Leigh Cook and helmed with no discernible attention to structure or pacing by Lisa Jones, the piece fails to ignite in its attempt to offer a sendup of the life-confessional one-person show genre. Faring slightly better is Josh Covitt’s show-opening “Shovitt,” thanks mostly to a clever opening video segment and a hilarious spoof of a Learning Annex-style class in songwriting.
Honikman attempts to utilize satire to underscore her tale of a stagestruck lass from Florida whose family flees to California a few months ahead of Hurricane Andrew’s decimation of her former home state. Honikman’s low-key, meandering approach to the material provides no thematic through line for the audience to follow. She simply lurches from one clumsily staged bit to another, separated by awkward pauses and erratic scenic changes.
There are a few potentially rewarding segments that are short-changed by Honikman’s lack of performance acumen. A clever original ballad about the carnal advantages of dating high school drama girls would be comical if she could actually sing. Honikman also introduces a potentially amusing bit about supporting herself by being one of those street corner sign twirlers, hawking the wonders of a new condo complex. Unfortunately, her lack of dexterity with the signs sabotages the inherent humor of the scene.
Nowhere within Honikman’s time onstage is there any sign of a guiding directorial presence. “Jackie Live: For Real” displays potential talent but needs significant restructuring and performance workshopping before it is truly stageworthy.
Covitt’s “Shovitt” also suffers from a woeful lack of thematic fluidity. The scenic and pre-filmed video bits just follow each other in a chaotic, structureless flow. What is successful is his opening video segment, focusing on a harried actor venting on his cell phone to his agent while driving to an audition for a student film. The highlight of the evening, however, is Covitt’s captivating portrayal of former lead singer-guitarist Leif Larson, who is now reduced to teaching “Power Ballads 101,” a hilarious step-by-step method to writing two-chord rock songs, complete with onstage posturing and guitar choreography.