Friday, July 06, 2007

I Google Myself

photo: Max Ruby

An entertainingly pulped-up 70 minute black comedy, which begins as a needy masochist latches on to a gay porn star who happens to share his name, I Google Myself makes a lot of delicious (and sometimes lurid) fun out of our human need for recognition and connection in the information-soaked culture we live in. Playwright Jason Schafer overboils the plot devices and turns of events to Jerry Springer Show temperatures but that's part of the point: these characters (including a third, a seemingly normative mellow stoner who blogs his poetry) are probably the psychos we are afraid might be lurking behind anonymous screen names on the Internet, but underneath the sensational and ridiculous they are all too recognizably human and familiar. The fast-paced show intends to be more fun than deep and it is, but if it's a bit of a cartoon at least it's a smart one, and this production (from Theatre Askew, devoted to new "queer" plays) is put over very well by its cast: all three men are perfect and perfectly in sync. As the porn star, Nathan Blew lets you glimpse something behind the smug, hypermasculine mask; he reminded me of Marc Kudisch doing arrogant. As the stoner, John Gardner is believably laid back and does slow-synapsed amusingly. And best of all, as the stalkerish masochist who is the play's center, Tim Cusack is simultaneously able to be funny and to render harrowingly needy. And he has a quality that is essential for this play to work: you just like him, no matter what.

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