Monday, November 15, 2010

Marilyn Pittman: "It's All the Rage" : UNRATED

"Heartbreaking and hilarious," is how comic Marilyn Pittman's new solo show "It's All the Rage" is subtitled. Sadly, it's neither. Her personal tragedy was a real one, but an audience has to empathize with any actor who wants to go up on stage and talk about it every night, albeit with deserving angst and several deliberate walks across the stage to the lighting cue, a la David Ford's direction.

Pittman plays several characters. Perhaps the most visual is her arthritic mother, whose gnarled hands in front of her body reflect her repressed helplessness. Pittman's father is also done well, a caricature whose anger will play itself out in the central action of the show.

But the character who has the hardest job is the narrator herself. Marilyn Pittman is angry and the show is about that anger, reflected in her tough gal attitude. At one point she says "I never talk about my brother. Let me tell you something about him." We then hear how much she dislikes her dysfunctional Cuban sister in law.

Anyone who is going to see this show, after all, has read the promo material. We already know about the tragic events that took place in 1997. On stage, Pittman attempts to keep it a secret for awhile, but we know. It is the performer's job, in this reviewer's opinion, to make us care a little more, to have some kind of window into the story teller's reasons for telling this macabre story.



The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division has chosen not to rate "It's All The Rage."


"It's All the Rage"
The Marsh
1062 Valencia, San Francisco
Through December 5


Unknown said...

I just saw the closing performance of the recent run. I loved the show, didn't want it to end, and will urge my friends to go if Marilyn puts it on again. If you're in the mood for eloquent, furious, and funny live theater, you'll want to see this.

DAK said...

Thanks JT for the comment. I have spoken to people who loved her and people who didn't. I guess that's what artists are supposed to do -- make us have strong reactions one way or the other.