U-Hauls, Bridesmaids & Backwards Mountain
nytheatre.com review by Nancy Kim
June 15, 2007
While some romantic relationships may end in histrionics and hurt feelings, the partners in other relationships gradually drift apart and carry forward separately with occasional remembrance of shared memories. The same can be said for artistic relationships, as in the case of longtime creative partners Regie Cabico and Aileen Cho with their rough but bittersweet offering of U-Hauls, Bridesmaids & Backwards Mountain, a selection in this month's first National Asian American Theater Festival.
Cabico and Cho have co-written and performed together many times in the past. They perhaps mined a lot from shared queer and Asian American identities. With their latest presentation, Cabico begins with the disclosure that he and Cho have been both creatively and personally out of touch for a few years. Although U-Hauls... is an attempt to revive their collaboration on stage, the piece feels mostly nostalgic as we re-visit some of their past work on video. Their mock commercials are bawdy, while the videos of past live performances mostly illustrate the obvious enthusiasm and ease that the two performers have shared on stage in former years.
Unfortunately, in the new material, we don't get as much interaction between Cabico and Cho. Instead, they highlight their individual stories with a mix of monologues and sketches. In one monologue, Cho obsessively details her anxieties about her impending marriage, while we spend time with Cabico as he describes moving to a new city and the loneliness of finding love. As award-winning poets, Cabico and Cho showcase some of their evocative verbal talents. They also share a whimsical and sometimes absurd sense of humor as when Cabico dispenses astrological predictions or when Cho finds a unique remedy for her neuroses.
The performers are also very well-supported by actors Charity Cabico, Kerry Huang, Janet S. Kim, and Ng Thanh Nhan in a number of supporting roles.
In the culminating sketch, Cabico and Cho finally share the stage for a parody of the film Brokeback Mountain. They have a lot of fun with each other, and one can't help but wonder if this current production is more for each other: to recapture those familiar feelings of being in a relationship—at least, a creative one.