Let’s cut to the chase: À Demain has the greatest performances of one of the finest scripts I have seen in years. I struggle to think of its equal — As You Like It at the Folger? Something professionally produced, no doubt, and this is all from a group of college students and recent grads.
À Demain is a theatrical argonaut, its Jason the charismatic playwright and leading man Brendan O’Connell, who in his role as Beej plays himself in the play’s modified account of his own experiences with a drunk driving accident that killed his best friend.
The topic is heavy, serious, almost suffocating — and yet O’Connell’s approach is a whip-smart blend of comedy and college culture, parties and dorm rooms and the looming deadline of graduation in the distance.
Never once did I feel as if O’Connell’s script was attempting to force me to feel sad; no, O’Connell presents the story from a deeply human and vulnerable place, giving insight into his descent into self-destructive behavior after the accident, and all the while blending it with an unexplainable mix of scripted comedy and ad-libbed dialogue. He leaves the audience to simply feel, rather than be led to feeling.
by Brendan O’Connell
at Redrum – Fort Fringe
610 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Details and tickets
I could talk for days about À Demain, but that would keep you from going to buy your ticket. Rather than read about it, ship out with O’Connell’s crew — put your trust in the unassuming comedian, and after the transformative, tumultuous trip you’ll find yourself on the mainland again.
After all, the last line of O’Connell’s “A Promise” in the program is, “This play is dedicated to the lost.”