Festival of Independent Theatres
Directed by Donny Covington
CAST: John Michael
Photo courtesy of John Michael Colgin
Reviewed Performance 6/1/2013
Reviewed by Chris Jackson, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Like Me is the fourth one-man show written and performed by John Michael, as he evidently prefers to be called, and is his first appearance at FIT. His three previous shows at Nouveau 47 Theatre were openly frank and “out there” (pun intended) about his gayness and his life experiences. While I didn’t see those shows, (after seeing this one, I wish I had), and in reading the reviews and interviews, his latest work is perhaps a little more listener friendly to the general audience. Indeed, in speaking with John Michael after the performance, he told me he was encouraged to trust the work without all the talk about sex.
Whatever the process, it worked for me and the audience there on his opening night. Developer and Director Covington told me his job was to work with John Michael and be a filter and an “Ah-Ha! Keep that!” kind of guy. This performer’s process is to take experiences from his life, then amplify and share them with his audience in the most entertaining manner possible. He is charming, very funny, unexpectedly touching and profound at the most disarming moments.
As we walked into the space Saturday evening, John Michael was already in place, talking to everyone who came in, being very personal with his observations and greeting friends warmly with lots of hugs and compliments and tons of energy everywhere.
As the evening progresses, Like Me becomes not only about pushing that ubiquitous button on the Facebook page but about pushing it in his, and by extension, our lives as well. “Like Me,” that phrase in all of its various and sometimes wildly different applications is explored. “Like Me”, as opposed to “Love Me” or being truly “there” and open enough to speak truthfully about what you are experiencing and what is in your heart, avoiding it all by just being able to push a button or send a quick text, has been debated and decried by many. In this show John Michael, while certainly addressing that, somehow makes it personal and therefore resonating more deeply in all of us.
Perhaps bringing back something about the social network toward the end of the presentation would round out the piece in a more satisfying manner but I was thoroughly entertained and moved by the performance. Anyone with a heart and an open mind who wants to be reminded of what it means to be human should find the time to catch this show. This performance artist wants to be liked, and with shows like this, he’s hard to resist.
***Remaining performances are Thursday, June 6th, Saturday, June 15th at 5:00 pm, Sunday, June 16th at 5:00 pm, and Friday, June 21st at 8:00 pm.
Click on a show title to read reviews from other shows at the Festival:
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By Isabella Russell-Ides
Wingspan Theatre Company
By Eve Ensler
Echo Theatre Company
ASK QUESTIONS LATER
By John Michael Colgin
by Meggie Spalding
Rite of Passage Theatre Company
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By Ellsworth Schave
One Thirty Productions