Theater News Online
free issue
London Theatre Reviews
NY Theater Reviews
LTN Recommendations
NYTN Recommendations
Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
London Theatre Archives
NY Theater Archives
Latest New York News
Latest London News
NY News Archives
London News Archives
Peter Filichia's Monday Quiz
Dining and Travel
London Theatre Listings
NY Broadway Listings
Off-Broadway Listings
London Tickets
Advertise with us

Subscribe
Renew
Give a Gift


Logo

Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
WE’RE ONLY ALIVE FOR A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME
at Public Theater

CHILDHOOD CUT SHORT
By SANDY MACDONALD

  David Cale/ Ph: Joan Marcus

“You’ll never be a singer,” David Cale’s father told him, “because you can’t sing.” But he can, transcendentally. It’s a matter of passion over polish. (Think Maria Callas, once the voice was gone.) He may shamble onstage almost shyly, as if to mock his own presumption, but within minutes, he owns it.
 
Cale’s autobiographical solo show – he’s backed by a sextet of superb instrumentalists, elegantly half-lit behind a scrim – spans a boyhood marked by empathy (he turned his backyard in grim Luton, England, into a massive bird sanctuary) and upheaval.
 
We all have our origin stories, but few so unsettling as Cale’s, shuttlecocked between a brute of a father and a defeated mother who confided, “Oh David, I hope you don’t have as much longing in your life as I’ve had in mine.”
 
So few of us had mothers who got to live out their full potential. Cale’s portrait of Barbara – whom he plays with a gentle dreaminess – is heartbreaking. A fledgling hat designer, she made what seemed a good marriage and went back on the assembly line in her husband’s factory. She took an interest in her son’s interests (taking him to see the film Cabaret at age 16, for instance). At first blush the narrative appears to be a relatively tame entry in the genus Growing Up Gay.
 
That’s before the storyline takes a turn so abrupt and extreme, it wouldn’t do to give it away. Cale vividly recalls the trauma and attendant dissociation: “I start to cry, all the time scrutinizing myself.” As he gradually comes to terms with a loss too massive to take in all at once (if ever), he takes us along and points a way forward. It’s a healing of sorts, an act of benediction.

 


SUBSCRIBE TO New York Theater News
SUBSCRIBE TO London Theater News

SCHEDULE UPDATES -
Yes, Prime Minister contracts its run, while A Chorus Line expands its own.
POWERHOUSE OF THEATRE - After 11 years as the Almeida Theatre's artistic director, Michael Attenborough is stepping down to focus on directing. 

SONGS FROM THE HEART - Once the Tony-Award winning musical is set to hit London in January.


Wine, Fruit, and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Privacy Notice   |   Front Page
Copyright © TheaterNewsOnline.com. All Rights Reserved.