Pigeon Man Apocalypse
nytheatre.com review by Akia Squitieri
August 12, 2007
Pigeon Man Apocalypse explores the unraveling of a man and what led him to his circumstance in life. This one-man play brings the audience into a desolate squat of a homeless loner. As the play begins, you are introduced to the ramblings of this nameless man as he shows you his dwelling, speaks to a photograph, and catches pigeons as his meals. The story at first seems like just the ravings of a crazy person, until you are brought slowly along into the jumbled memories of this sad and lonely man's memories.
You soon learn that he was abandoned by his father, and carries the weight of blame of his mother for this dissolution of his family. His mother, a recluse who relied solely on her young son to care for her needs—all of her needs, tortured him with both physical and emotional abuse in a horrible manner. Alone, sheltered, and reclusive, the young man is driven to a shocking measure to win his freedom. Soon he is alone in a world he's never experienced and meets a young punk girl who becomes the love of his life. At this point things become unhinged as he is denied the one thing he wants so badly, he uncontrollably unravels his only happiness and is driven into seclusion once again.
Being a New Yorker this piece was especially potent for me, as we all pass the homeless, and very often the insane on the street, in the subway, in the park and wonder what may have happened in their life to lead them to their current state. Pigeon Man brings some insight into what can lead a person over the edge.
Andy McQuade carries this show marvelously, and explores a lot of dark territory. Interestingly enough, it states in the show's press release that McQuade himself was a victim of child abuse, and driven to similar measures as those portrayed in the play. I would imagine that the places he had to go to be this character could by no means be easy. This character requires a lot of bravery and guts to portray, and kudos to McQuade for not taking the easy way and simply "playing Crazy."
Writer William Whitehurst covers a lot of intense ground in this piece, and manages to not only explore the awful existence of child abuse, but also ventures into the psyche of those driven to the edge of reality.
Victor Sobchack's direction keeps the piece sharp and maneuvers the many nuances of the script with skill.
Lighting design by Nika Khitrova is excellent, conquering challenges that the limited equipment and small stage presented; her design is fluid and adds so much to the feel of the play. The sound design is also fantastic (there was no credit in program).
The creative team put a lot of soul and hard work into this piece, which is quite present throughout. While this show is not something that I would consider an enjoyable piece of theatre to sit through due to its intense content, there is no overlooking how strong and intelligent it is.