David Michael Taylor’s trip down memory lane begins with a long-winded multimedia tour through Moundsville, WV—a coal mining community whose claim to fame are prehistoric burial mounds and a retired gothic penitentiary. It’s the kind of town where The Great Depression never left, but Taylor’s humorous, desperate desire to flee his hometown is akin to listening to how someone chewed their arm off to get out of a bear trap. Adding to the cloying ennui firmly settled into the hills and valley is Taylor’s eccentric trope of familial characters, oddball cousins and distant relations who live in exotic places like Shreveport, Louisiana (anything’s exotic compared to Moundsville).
His attempts to escape small-town life are met with adversity nearing Greek tragedy proportions. There’s a nervous breakdown, a fake stint in a mental hospital, brief relocations, maternal manipulations, and lack of cash and a car to boot. Taylor’s casual but thunderstruck “why me?” observations and rationalizations provide enough amusing anecdotes to conjure sympathy to root for his self-preservational success. Interspersed between the frantic foiled plans however, are touching moments as he recounts his terse family dynamic. Between a regretful father, a resentful mother and a stubborn brother, Taylor becomes a sort of Prodigal Son after he finally leaves home only to routinely visit his parents after his dad becomes ill. There’s a lot of heart in Taylor’s personal trials and triumph, even if he occasionally falters from too much nervous energy or stumbling bewilderment. Major editing of home videos shakily shot while driving through the tiny hamlet with The Eurythmics blasting would speed the show along and keep Taylor from having to barrel through his cathartic but therapeutic onstage session.
Asylum Lab, 6320 Santa Monica Boulevard (one black West of Vine, with the entrance to the theatre around the corner on Lillian Way) in Hollywood, CA on Friday, June 15 at 5:30 pm; Saturday, June 16 at 1:00 pm; Sunday, June 17 at 8:30 pm; Wednesday, June 20 at 10:00 pm; and Saturday, June 23 at 7:00 pm. Please visit davidmichaeltaylor.com for more info or www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/781 for tickets.
Reviewed by MR Hunter, reprinted courtesy www.eyespyla.com
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