The Tragedie of Johnnius Carson

By David Davalos
Directed by David Davalos
American Globe Theatre
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by Dudley Stone

They've done it again! John Basil and The American Globe Theatre closed their ninth season, after a rousing Three Musketeers, with a hilarious The Tragedie of Johhnius Carson, written and directed by David Davalos, a gentleman from whom it is certain we will hear more in the future. He also directed and acted in his play extremely well. Davalos has written a delightfully entertaining comedy that everyone can relate to while having fun picking up on the myriad of names and quotes that flash by at record pace.

Briefly stated, the play asks the dramatic question: does history repeat itself when Janus Lenis, Chevius Chassius, Dennus Millerius, Discius Cavett, Joana Flumenia, and other comics plot to end Carson's late-night reign? Why, it's Julius Caesar all over again, except it's in 1993 and set in Los Angeles and New York City. Only Davus Lettermantony can save Johhny's legacy. Fourteen actors played 25 roles in a fast-moving evening of pure delight. What a shame it could not be extended, for a Tuesday evening saw the theatre filled, presumably from great word-of-mouth. And if the constant succession of one-liners began to become a little wearying in the second half of the play (which could be usefully trimmed by 15 minutes) there were enough of these one-liners to please.

Like the man said, "dying is easy, humor is hard." But you gotta love: The soothsayer warning, "beware the sweeps of May" and "beware the March of Dimes" and others with lines like "Et tu Jay, no fall season." "Janus is a stand up guy," "the schlock lives after them," "have your slaves call my slaves," "it was Greek to me," and "Publius Clearinghus." It was fun too, recognizing the Hamlet and "Scottish play" excerpts that were also included!

It's hard to single out performances from this funny piece, but Jeffrey Edward Peters was Davus Lettermantony to the letter; Jim Ireland, a wonderful Caius Itsgarius Shandlingus; David Davalos, a very fine Dennus Millerius (he also played four other roles); and John Prince looked and sounded just like Johnny Carson, the Host of Hosts. Almost as good were Sarah Ireland as Joana Flumenia, a yenta; Michael Bachman, who played both Eddius McMahonus ("You are right, sir! ha, ha ha") and Thomas Snydrus, a braying ass. Daren Taylor as Janus Lenis and Kip Veasey as Chevus Chasis worked hard (the former managing to keep his jaw thrust way out all evening), but they were less effective since they didn't resemble Leno and Chase physically. Also featuring: Doug Armstrong, David Cheaney, Bradley Goodwill, Traci Lyn Thomas, Paige Thompson, and Doug Armentrout.

Sets, costumes, sound, and light were minimal, uncredited, but up to Paar (sorry).

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Set: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 1998 Dudley Stone