photo: Jonathan Slaff
When GL, a God-fearing rodeo clown, takes up with Fat Lyza, the surly no-nonsense woman who's vandalized the town's nativity scene, August Schulenburg's supremely intelligent and entertaining Riding The Bull plays at first like a homespun losers-in-love comic fable. But when it turns out that Lyza, upon climax, can dependably predict tomorrow's winning bull rider (thanks to God's intervention) and that GL's most faith-based use for the resulting gambling profits is to seek out that falsest of American gods (Elvis) the play reveals a thematic richness and a captivating complexity under its deceptively simple folkloric surface. There's a great deal of humor and sadness in this carefully constructed two-hander: the humor never slips into apathetic snickering at faith, and the sadness is the real thing (read: not the easy, sentimental kind). It's a remarkable play with a distinctive vision of America, which in this evocative, judiciously staged production boasts excellent, perfectly modulated performances from Will Ditterline and Liz Dailey. Recommended; part of the Fringe Festival.
Also blogged by: [Aaron] and [David]