The Autobiography Of A Guy Who Knew Me Part One
nytheatre.com review by Case Aiken
August 15, 2012
The Autobiography of a Guy Who Knew Me, Part One, a new show in the New York International Fringe Festival, isn’t exactly breaking the mold for Off-Off Broadway theater with a premise about two guys at a bar trying to write a show for FringeNYC, but I couldn’t help enjoying every minute of it. The first thing I had to appreciate about the show was how, in the opening scene, a blank stage is made into a bar by the two main characters by connecting seemingly unrelated pieces of scrap while they talk. After a comical exchange, they end up with a convincing representation of a bar, complete with bar mats and fruit trays. The smooth nature of the assembly prevents the dialogue from being drowned out and when it’s over, the stage is set for them to begin fawning over the hot bartender while desperately trying to pitch script ideas to each other. Within the first ten minutes, they’ve outlined every crazy type of scene or subplot that would happen over the show, such as dance breaks, sword fighting, and romance. As each came to fruition, I mentally checked them off, and was quite pleased that they somehow managed to leave none of their more eccentric ideas out in the cold.
Like I said, this show isn’t revolutionary, every aspiring playwright has at one point pitched a play about actually making theater, but this is a well polished work that moved well and kept the audience entertained. Few jokes fell flat and the actors all played their parts admirably. Antony Raymond, (who both wrote the piece and plays the part of T-Bone), easily handles that confident in his art but worried about his personal life kind of character, while Tyler Hollinger sells the character of McGraw as the wavering in conviction type of performer, and Kara Marie Rosella is hilarious as the bartender who can’t but help mention in every sentence that she sees herself as a dancer. All of these are characters I’ve known or could relate to. It’s a self reflective show, even sometimes lampooning itself such as when a character emphatically explains how his career would make a great TV show.
Possibly more a show for people who’ve worked in theater, this is a show that assumes the audience knows how things work and doesn’t put too much weight into the importance of things until they’ve been fully accomplished. Saying you’re writing a script doesn’t make you a writer, they point out. It’s a great exploration of independent theater. In the course of the show, there is some form of commentary on almost every aspect of the world of low budget theater and I was delighted to witness it.