Vladimir and Estragon move over. Josh Cary and Patrick Gallo have arrived with their own vaudeville shtick, and they are waiting too. Not for Godot, but for "the call." And you all know what happens when you get "the call." You don't? Well, not to worry, the answer lies in the notebook. When you get "the call" you have to leave. Yes, leave everything, including your loved ones. But when you get "the call," it's better than sex. It is even better than when you race to the subway and the train doors are open, ready for you.
"The call" has not arrived. So for a little over an hour, they wait -- Josh playing the straight-man Abbot to Patrick's clueless Costello.
What follows is a series of comic routines that develop a touching relationship between two listless, but lovable guys. In one scene, they imagine how performing groups got together. Did Simon approach Garfunkel or vice versa? They play out both scenarios. In one, Paul asks Art if he can play any instruments. No. Can he write music? No. Okay. Can he grow a big blond Afro? Yes. Great. They seem to breathe as one unit when they spontaneously break into a duet of "The Sounds of Silence." The silence shapes the laugh and Patrick and Josh are masters at shaping the silence. It is magical.
The two have clear roots in stand-up comedy and improv. The jokes never fall flat, and their timing is impeccable. But this work soars beyond humor. These characters share a deep affection for each other. "If the call comes for me," one admits in a moment of revelation, "I'm taking you with me."
With just a table, two chairs, a few props and the phone as the sacred, central object of the action, the set is grounded in the mundane, while never providing a specific location -- a sort of existentialism of the everyday.
Comedic talent with depth such as this rarely comes along. Only ten fortunate people showed up to witness this talented duo at work on the night reviewed.
Some of the material is uneven. A stronger outside directorial eye would help the static staging and a dramaturg could fine-tune the script. But overall it is an outstanding evening for up-and-coming talent.
For everyone who ever wanted Waiting for Godot to have a 'real' ending, rest assured. In Who Is That Guy?, "the call" comes. But it doesn't have the conclusion you might expect.
So get out to see this extraordinary duo. Fill those seats. Attention must be paid!
(Brian Tucker opened the evening with a brief comedy routine. His innocent playfulness set a charming tone for the play that followed.)
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Copyright 1998 James A. Lopata