He's Got A Way
Chad Brummett's Four Interludes
You* arrive at 516 Arts to see Chad Brummett perform Four Interludes – a work of his creation, essentially a theatric memoir. You know that the subject matter is personal and understand that, save the expected influence of artistic narrative license, the story will be authentic. But you’re curious about just how personal and just how authentic. And because you have read all there is to read about the show, you wonder how the playwright ties together the four soliloquies – lover, mother, muse and memory vignettes – that Tricklock tells you will comprise the evening ahead. And right before the music signals the beginning of the performance, and even though you suspect that if anything makes you uncomfortable it will be the potential touchy-feeliness of it, you think, Shit, I hope this isn’t a misogynistic tirade. And you cross your fingers that it will actually be as poetic as it’s said to be, and as poetic as you imagine Brummett is capable of being. And you zap as hard as you’ve ever zapped that “poetic” doesn’t turn out to mean “cliché,” because you really really really want to love the show.
After U2’s opening serenade dies down, and within a few lines of the prefatory monologue, you recognize that you do love it. Already and immediately, you love it.** You’re surprised by just how personal and just how authentic it is; indeed, you find Brummett’s sincerity, honesty and openness refreshingly disarming. You’re taken aback by the vast array of emotions he shares and by how beautifully he portrays them – particularly, those throughout his mother-centric recollection. And you’re only really made uncomfortable by the use of the word “lover,” which gives you the uh-oh feeling every time it's uttered and simultaneously brings to mind the Will Ferrell SNL skits centered around it (particularly the one guest-starring Christopher Walken). "Lover" bombs taken out of account, the poeticism of Four Interludes is as exquisite as Tricklock promised you it would be; descriptions like “ferocious way she decided to live her life,” “glass door separation from death,” and “silently gives nourishment to the roots of the gorgeous” run the course sans cliché and, at fairly regular intervals, make you wish you’d written them.
You come to see Four Interludes as a glorious confession. Without the guilt. With a reverence to Brummett’s subjects and a sense of respectful responsibility in his remembrances of them. Defined by the insightful guidance of Director Elsa Menendez and Dramaturge Kevin R. Elder. And lovable because of everything it is at its core: Genuine, reflective, lyrical.
The show’s run at Revolutions is over, but it appeared as part of the Excavations New Works Series – a platform for works in progress, so it will surely (and luckily for the yous who haven’t yet seen it) return to an Albuquerque stage soon. In the meantime, go see the festival performances that have yet to begin. Starting tonight at ReSource Campus for Creativity with Countries Shaped Like Stars, an original work by Ottawa’s Mi Casa Theatre.
* ‘You’ meaning ‘I,’ and perhaps some others from last night’s sold out show?
** U2 aside, you love it. (Sorry, Bono fans.) The musical selection is redeemed very quickly with – among other things – the introduction of a fantastic hip-hoppin’ Swede called Movits and some very well placed Jeff Buckley tunes (Hallelujah and Lover, You Should Have Come Over). Oh - and, as may be predictable from the title of this blog, some Billy Joel.