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South Pathetic 

Wednesday, Aug 12 2009

In Jim David's solo show, he hilariously re-enacts his experience directing a godawful production of Tennessee Williams' Streetcar Named Desire in Thermal City, North Carolina, at "the worst community theater in the South." David is a seasoned stand-up comedian in New York City — he had his own Comedy Central special — and his confidence, solid accents, and loving attention to Southern idiosyncrasy allow each cast member of this Streetcar (a stripper, a pot smoker, a diva, etc.) to be funny and avoid stereotyping. His Bosnian janitor is especially touching. We don't get to see this outrageous Streetcar until the end, when David performs all the parts at once, but we get a sense of it from the director's notes: "That's the first time I've seen the rape scene with Blanche on top." There are plenty of similarities to Waiting for Guffman, but David's comforting ease of personality, as well as his well-tuned comedic timing, illuminate this play's heart: Theater is community, not necessarily product.

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Nathaniel Eaton


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