Reviewed by Tim Treanor
There were a couple of empty chairs at the showing of The Revenge of the Cat-Headed Baby and Other True Tales yesterday at Cole Studio.
From the story of how Vijai Nathan lost her hair to the tale of how Edwin Kubal lost his fear of the things they warned him about on ABC’s After-School Special, The Revenge of the Cat-Headed Baby (the title gets shorter with each repetition) is a celebration of loss, recovery and redemption as experienced by ordinary people who happen to have brilliant comic timing and storytelling skills.
The ordinariness of the storytellers cannot be overemphasized. These are men and women just like us, who have experienced the threat of uterine cancer (Tabbie Mann) or waited to be called into combat in Iraq (Twain Dooley). Darrel Perry serves as sort of a hip-hop moderator, and his story seems at the beginning to be lighter than the rest, a story about nothing. Then, all of a sudden, something happens and it turns out to be a story about everything.
Perhaps that is how it is for all of us. Our lives seem to be a story about nothing, and then something happens and it is a story about everything.
It would be an interesting but purely academic exercise to determine which story is the most compelling. Nathan, a stand-up comedian, gives the most polished performance but every one of them is touching, funny and, in theater’s best tradition, helps us to understand each other and ourselves. I particularly enjoyed Dooley’s account, which shows us what an ordinary grunt feels when he watches gunfire in the distance.
Cat-Headed Baby is the product of SpeakeasyDC, an organization dedicated to the loving preservation and advancement of the storytelling tradition, and thus to bringing truth to art. With stories as well-crafted and well-told as this, they are going to be around for a long time.
- Running Time: 90 minutes
- Tickets: The Revenge of the Cat-Headed Baby …
- Remaining Shows: Wed, July 16 at 6:30 . Sat, July 19 at 9 . Sat, July 26 at 5 . Sun, July 27 at 4
- Where: Cole Studio, 1714 15th St NW (in the rear)