Friday, November 18, 2016

Review: What a Treat Gideon Is!

by Kaila M. Stokes

Are you ready for a hilarious existential experience? Then go see My Name is Gideon, I’m probably Going to Die Eventually. This long-winded title of a show will catch you off guard in more ways than one. It is exactly what New Yorkers need right now…laughter. My Name is Gideon is playing at The Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. This intimate space which houses many noteworthy productions is the key to making this production a success.
When you walk in the theater, you are greeted with warm lighting strung with Christmas lights all around the room. The stage is set up like an apartment, but not just any apartment. This apartment is eclectic, funky, creative, and maybe even a little bit mysterious. It will definitely give you some decorating ideas. The coolest thing about the set is it’s functionality. Throughout the show everything you see has a purpose. Nothing is placed on that stage that isn’t used in some way shape or form. The stage manager (Rebecca Guskin) has a heck of job because by the time the show is over the entire apartment setting is in chaos.
Without giving too much way, My Name is Gideon is about Gideon. That’s right. A one man show about the man in the show. Gideon is a musician, a performer, an artist, a traveler, and a renaissance man if nothing else. Gideon was speaking to audience members before the show started and he seemed reserved, but the cloak came off when the lights went down. It was clear this man is comfortable onstage and in front of crowds. He usually does shows in people’s homes around the world, so when something extra happened or a mishap occurred his ease inspired the audience to participate throughout and embrace the unexpected. Gideon’s performance was inspiring. He is a master of instruments and a passionate singer/songwriter. He really leaves it all on the stage and bares his soul, which is difficult to do.
Audience participation was a huge part of the show, and it was done right. It was a safe space for Gideon and audience members to share in laughter, tears, memories, and personal connections. The direction, by Ewen Wright, was organic and stayed in line with who Gideon is. Mr. Wright never lost sight of the type of performer he had in front of him - he let the performer inspire his direction it seemed. The partnership between director, performer, lighting designer, props master, set designer, and costume designer all seemed to marry together to form an ocean of creativity the audience could enjoy. There was never a dull moment.
My Name is Gideon, I’m Probably Going to Die Eventually is a must see. Don’t rely on this post to tell you what happened, because you need to see it to believe it. All you need to know is go in with a clear head, a full heart, and a great laugh. This show is funny. This show is clever. This show is thought-provoking. This show will make your week.