Any1ManBy Genie Baskir • May 23rd, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Poet’s Den Theatre, N.Y., N.Y.
Closed in New York May 20th
Reviewed May 19th, 2012
Mae West said, “Men are all alike–except the one you’ve met who’s different.”
Road Trip!!!! So your adventurous Reviewer, her date, NR, and two tagalongs, Shrewish Princess the Younger and Miss Prada Priss, hereinafter referred to as The Giddy Girls, pile into my hoopty for a trip into The Big Apple. It’s smooth riding all the way up until the George Washington Bridge which is backed up past Fort Lee. So I spot an opening in the dividing wall to the Martha and pretend to be a police cruiser on a call….cutting into another major road artery or else still be stranded in traffic waiting to get onto the Georgy. Entrance to the Martha is moving…slowly…but moving. We make it over the Hudson River and it turns out that the backup is all about the exits off the bridge to I 95 North on the left and the Major Deegan on the right. No one’s going into the city except us. Soon we are speeding down the FDR Drive until 139th St. or so; so I get off the highway and we take Park Avenue down for 20 blocks. There are actual legal parking spaces on 109th St.!!! And we don’t have to parallel park. We stop for lunch at a cute little Italian joint on 109th and 1st Avenue. We stroll to 2nd Avenue and NR and I put The Giddy Girls into a cab and instruct the driver to take the girls as far away from us as possible. They called us later from the Hamptons.
We saunter to the Poet’s Den Theatre on 108th and find ourselves in the most charming small venue we had ever seen. We are here to see George A. Peters II in his one-man show, Any1Man. Young Peters is the man who is different. He is refined and elegant in his mien and speaks naturally like one imagines an angel would speak; and he is as fine an actor as anyone seen on any stage today. Your Shrewish Princess the Elder is in love.
My Crush has created a series of male characters, seven of whom spoke to us this time. Peters, in a nut shell, sees a man as being in whatever room…or space… he is in at the moment. As he moves from metaphorical room to room and morphs into each man Peters’ inherent elegance remains. He moves languorously from monologue to monologue and his commentary on humanity and how each man relates is original and thought-provoking. Peters is a man of intellectual power mixed with compassion and forbearance and his thesis is about choices and the implications of the choices we make.
We took our seats and then a homeless man popped up in the audience creating a disturbance. This is The Bishop, homeless for 4 years and 4 months. Today is his anniversary. The Bishop was not always in this wretched state and he doesn’t see himself, necessarily, as wretched. He acknowledges a certain amount of uncleanliness but hopes we understand his situation. He finds it somewhat comical…. the efforts we go to every day to avoid him on his street corner. He finds it amusing that we don’t want to know him but he knows us better than our most intimate companions. He knows how much money we make, what we eat and what our moods are because he is observing us every day while we make every effort to avoid him. He can predict every choice we will make on any given day; he has known us for so long. The Bishop is a thoughtful and intelligent man; he feels bad that we have avoided him for so long because he knows us so well and he does still like us anyway. Life is precarious enough that any one of us could become The Bishop and all he asks from us really is empathy…although some spare change wouldn’t hurt either.
The other men we meet this afternoon are Willy, Victor (short for Victory), Man Tan, Wesley, Adam and Slain. Slain is central to the understanding of men in this show because he is still a teenager. Slain is perp walking and scowling from under his hooded sweatshirt and covering threatening song lyrics from gangsta bands. He wants us to fear him; he makes every effort to induce us to fear him…because…in the end…he is just a boy and he is really no threat to anybody. He is engaging in every young man on the edge of manhood braggadocio…except in his case such normal boyhood antics may be a predicate for misunderstanding resulting in incarceration and/or death. The choice to behave in this persona implies deadly ramifications for one such as Slain.
Pythagoras…or Edwin Markham, if you went to Ethical Culture or Fieldston…. said, “Choices are the hinges of destiny.”
Adam, the very first man, is bewildered by his condition. He is the MAN but his companion, who he sees as simply an extension of himself, is not seeing him as the MAN. She has her own will and he’s just going along to get along and….oops….fig leaf time. (He did this scene in his panties…squeee…)
The technical direction and direction of this show is tight and the production crew are not amateurs by any stretch of the imagination. Director Carra Patterson has her own stunning curriculum vitae and has presented for us an intimate episode in a perfect venue.
Any1Man is a universal portrait of all men and the lives any single man could be leading depending on his own choices combined with what the fates may have in store for him; even Slain makes the choice to try on a gangbanger persona instead of that of Neil DeGrasse Tyson because, “it is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” The show is always on tour and one need only search for dates and cities on the web site. Peters’ outlook on manhood and his illustration of some types persuaded your besotted reviewer to further appreciate her Very Smart Prince.
- The Bishop, Willy, Victor, Man Tan, Slain, Wesley, Adam: George A. Peters II
- Executive Producers: Benny I. Walk, II; George A. Peters, II; George and Ruby Peters
- Director: Carra Patterson
- Written by: George A. Peters, II
- Stage Manager: Vincent Ferguson
- Lighting Design: Justin King
- Original Music: George 2.0
Disclaimer: Any1Man provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/8101.
Genie Baskir is a theatrical producer. She worked in radio production and direction for many years and gravitated to theatre when family members became involved with the stage.