Sunday, October 02, 2005
OFF THE SHELF WITH DOUG HOLDER
JIMMY TINGLE HAS A DREAM.
During a performance of “Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream,” at Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway Theatre in Davis Square, Somerville, my wife said to me: “He tells it exactly the way I would want to say it.” And so he does. Jimmy Tingle is a master of the vernacular. With his salt-of-the-earth, blue collar, accent and demeanor; he is able to lay his cards out on the table, just like an old drinking buddy in some dark corner of the Burren Pub. Obviously Tingle is a man -of -the people. Listening to the audience before the show, I overheard snippets of conversations about the “Boston Red Sox,” 9th grade girlfriends, the ‘kids,” etc ... This is exactly what Tingle uses in his humorous performance.... and more.
In any Jimmy Tingle performance that I have seen there is a generous dose of levity, but there is always the subtext of a serious political agenda. Most of the show has the crowd in stitches, but at times the lights lower, and Tingle in a deadpan, addresses issues that are close to his heart. He rails against what he perceives as the hypocrisy of Bush, the duplicity of the Church, and the horror and stupidity of the Iraqi War.
Skillfully directed by Larry Arrick, an accomplished man who has directed Tingle on his “60 Minutes ll,” stint, as well as the direction of over 100 productions on Broadway and around-the-world; Tingle uses the elusive concept of “The American Dream,” as a springboard for his comic riffs. He takes on the myth of Christopher Columbus, and then the Vikings, who he said left the New World when they couldn’t get a resident parking sticker. Tingle talked about cutting his teeth at the Chinese eatery/ Comedy club the “Ding-Ho” back in the 80’s. Tingle recalled he had his own “American Dream” back then, albeit a much more modest one than his colleagues: “I saw myself in Davis Square, in a basement, next to a T stop.” Tingle said once he became an owner of his own theater the “Kennedy” side of his brain and the “Romney” side of his brain came into constant conflict. When deciding about health benefits for his employees, the Kennedy side of his brain was naturally supportive, while the Romney side said: “ Screw-em. Let them get their own health insurance.” Tingle a Roman Catholic, took a shot at the Church; concerning their move to ban all Gay priests. With an elfin twinkle in his blue eyes, he stated: “It will sort of the thin the herd, won’t it, father?”
In the second half of the show Tingle had a short Q and A with the audience. At the end of the performance, the lights dimmed again, and Tingle examined the horrible irony of the Iraqi War. Why is it he asked do we count our own dead, but not the Iraqis? When Tingle ended the show there was a profound silence. Tingle brings his flock on manic laughing highs, but at the same time probes the depths, in this accomplished one-man show.
Doug Holder/ “The Somerville News”
For more info go to: http://www.jtoffbroadway.com