The minimalistic approach of Kevin Boggs’s one-man Fringe performance is perfectly suited to the tone of the piece. Picture a man in his best khakis, gleaming loafers, and blue V-neck sweater standing upstage center in a simple pool of white light. This is Kevin, and Kevin doesn’t need an elaborate set to tell his story. He doesn’t need a fancy light plot, or pre-recorded sound cues. All Kevin needs is an audience.
& Afterwards is a story about a man falling in love with Washington, DC and subsequently falling in love with the man he becomes there. The performance begins with a strangely awkward song but thankfully soon moves on to more approachable material. Boggs illuminates his humble roots in East Tennessee and perfectly describes the malaise that comes with just barely scraping the surface of one’s potential.
From Tennessee, a normal series of events brings Boggs north where he is readily embraced by the iconic Kramerbooks & Afterwards establishment in Dupont Circle. “This place is magic” Boggs breathes as he explains his blossoming love affair with the city that nurtured him and gave him to the courage to be comfortable with his identity as a gay man.
by Kevin Boggs
645 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC, 20001
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With a balanced blend of southern charm and northern liberal sass, Boggs weaves stories that together paint a picture of a young man in the process of finding himself. The audience hears about his first night out in a DC gay bar, a head-to-toe corduroy outfit that inexplicably boosts his self-confidence, and a co-worker with a deep-seated adoration for Bono. With subtle shifts in eye contact and engaging vocal work, Boggs talks to the audience as if conversing at a cocktail party. Completely devoid of over-the-top “acting,” the simple way in which he conveys his story is truly engrossing.
Although the piece does not require any kind of sophisticated production design, such an intimate performance would have benefited from a more intimate venue; Boggs often gets lost in the enormity of the empty Warehouse stage. In addition, the mini-scene changes designed to allow both performer and audience to take a breath and refocus were somewhat clumsily staged. But these small polishing issues are simple to fix and do very little to diminish the poignant heart of the piece.
What makes Bogg’s performance so stirring is that he tells everyday stories—stories of seemingly ordinary people experiencing seemingly ordinary things. And yet Boggs himself is not ordinary. On the contrary, he is quietly but undeniably remarkable.