For forty years Ron Litman and Tom Pile have performed together and it shows with their comfortable onstage banter.
Pile accompanies Litman and sings backup or stands behind the piano, his reactions and laughs played straight out to the audience. You’d only notice this if you can manage to pry your focus from Litman’s magnetic ferocity. Fervently, he laments the world and the issues that have brought us where we are today – like one of those doomsday-sayer’s holding a hand-painted sign “We’re Doomed” on one side, “The end is near” on the other.
With songs and monologues, the duo of DC Trash! Productions and Running Dog Music cover everything from bacteria and infectious diseases, closing with a rousing homage to Bob Dylan’s “Nuclear Proliferation Boogie.”
Waiting for Armageddon traces Litman’s political awakening, growing up in Washington, DC. Unfortunately he includes his awkward pubescent years. The smell of a jerk chicken restaurant almost changed Litman’s identity into whoever he thought a Jamaican is; donning a dreadful dreadlock knit cap, and speaking the “Ey Mon” patois.
The cringe-worthy adolescence combines a horrible caricature with the “OO-AH” calls of the species of our closest cousins during the bridge of his reggae song “Are You a Chimp, or Bonobo?”
Waiting for Armageddon
by Ron Litman
at Lab II – Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Details and tickets
I enjoyed Waiting for Armageddon as I did Isao Hashimoto’s video Time Lapse of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945, shown at the start (don’t miss it!). Every country responsible for nuclear weapon detonation from 1945 to 1998 is assigned a color matching the national flag and a musical note that sets a haunting tone for the revue.
Litman and Pile’s energy and writing are fantastic. Their political commentary is as sharp as Steven Colbert’s. As I walked away down H Street SE, passing all those trendy restaurants, what I had just seen felt like a huge hit of wasabi – shocking and strong. And one lesson I won’t easily forget.
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