david carl

“David and Katie Get Re-Married” at The PIT

David and Katie are a picture of wedded bliss… if your definition of marriage is, say, Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder sticking together for fifteen more years, getting tattoos of each other’s names and painfully removing them after every fight. David and Katie have invited you and a room full of other complete strangers to witness their re-marriage ceremony (“the second happiest day of their life”), because frankly, no one else would go. Their family and friends have already witnessed this unsuitable union once. They’ve learned their lesson, even if David and Katie have not.

Katie Hartman and David Carl star in “David and Katie Get Re-Married”

That they haven’t learned their lesson is clear from the couple’s first scene together, an awkward and drawn-out dance with both Katie and David in body-hugging black underwear obliviously in love as they make half-attempts at lifts and twirls. The couple have elected a new approach to their re-wedding ceremony. They’ve collected a list of new age practices this time around to solidify their partnership. Of course, nothing goes off quite as planned. There’s a ritual of accepting praise and criticism from your partner as s/he caresses your face with a feather (in the instance of praise) or pokes you with a stick (in the instance of criticism). David and Katie struggle admirably to praise each other, but criticism comes too easily. Then, there’s the Balinese butterfly release which, given that it involves a living, breathing animal, goes horribly wrong.

Both David Carl and Katie Hartman are veterans of the comedy stage. We reviewed Carl’s Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet, a highlight of last year’s Fringe, and Hartman is part of the sketch comedy duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting. Carl and Hartman wrote the script and music for this production, which is directed by Michole Biancosino.

Part of what made Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet so exciting was the level of discomfort the audience felt at watching one clearly incapable man work very hard to put together an extraordinary, albeit unusual and darkly comic, feat of theater. Here, in David and Katie Get Re-Married, we’re seeing something similar: two people who are clearly not meant for the task they’ve taken upon themselves (marriage) struggle (and slip) to piece together something special. It’s an inspired concept for a comedy show that celebrates persistence in spite of terribly obvious shortcomings.

David and Katie, however, is not so tight a production as Hamlet, and the laughs of discomfort in the audience were equally at David and Katie’s comedic efforts to renew their love as at the show’s strangely slow pacing. There were times where David and Katie seemed to lose track of the humor and the scene became unnecessarily long without the joke hitting its mark. There was also a third character whose unusual backstory could have been worked into the show in a more fruitful way. My favorite moments of the show were the original songs, which reflected a wide range of styles and topics (both humorous and emotional) and propelled the story elegantly. I look forward to seeing how David and Katie continue to develop this production– Here’s to knowing their future is brighter than that of their stage personas!

LMezz Interviews: David Carl (Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet)

David Carl is the writer and star of Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet, one of Fringe’s hottest tickets this year! After reviewing/fangirling about the show last week, I was excited to ask for an interview. We talked about how the show got on its feet, what it’s like to get in a Busey mindframe, and geeked out a bunch about Hamlet!

LMezz: How did the Gary Busey obsession start up and how did it get tied into Hamlet?

David Carl: I do different impressions and one of the impressions I do is Nick Nolte. Four years ago, my friend Boris Khaykin heard that his friend Whitney Meers was making a Gary Busey commercial parody called 1-800 GET BUSEY and he recommended me. I think he confused Nick Nolte with Gary Busey, but I like to think he was believing in me. I had three days to learn the Busey impression before shooting for a live show at the UCB. So I just geeked out in front of Youtube like I usually do when learning a new character. My roommate at the time was from Arkansas and he was very critical and a playwright and way too young to be a misanthrope but he is. He hates everything. And he was like, “you got it. You got it. That’s it.” Continue reading “LMezz Interviews: David Carl (Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet)”

Fringe! Round-up Part 3: All My Children, Bedroom Secrets, Joel Creasey: Rock God, Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet

Courtenay Raia in All My Children

All My Children by Courtenay Raia

Synopsis: Dr. Courtenay Grean (Courtenay Raia) gives an impromptu presentation on the latest development in reproduction: cryo-babies! Just cryogenically freeze your fertilized eggs and become a mother without all the hassles of motherhood (like y’know, actually having a live baby). It’s self-described as a TED Talk colliding with the Hindenburg.

Why Go?: I fricking hate TED Talks, and to see one self-destruct makes me very happy.

Stand-Out Bits: While the premise is wonderfully eccentric, this one-woman show fell a bit flat for me. Most of the laughs were cheesy and predictable. The slideshow accompanying Raia’s performance was effective in supplementing her character’s show, but in all, everything felt a little forced, especially towards the end when a blackout causes some technical difficulties for the cryo-babies. I could see the show developing a more nuanced approach to Dr. Grean’s biological tickings, her unorthodox approach to motherhood, and how this reflects on contemporary parenting styles.

All My Children plays at 440 Lafayette St. 8/19 at 7pm, 8/20 at 2pm, 8/22 at 9:15pm, 8/24 at 12pm.

Ashlie Atkinson and Stephen Wallem in Bedroom Secrets


Bedroom Secrets by Thomas and Judy Heath

Synopsis: Robin, a therapist (Ashlie Atkinson) meets with several patients (Stephen Wallem) to discuss issues of sexuality while navigating through her own newly budding relationship.

Why Go?: Thomas and Judy Heath has a proven track record– this is their third Fringe show in three years. Stephen Wallem is probably the most well-known actor of the festival. And bedroom kinks get an audience no matter what.

Stand-Out Bits: This play is much more nuanced than its title suggests. Each of the patients has an intriguing backstory and tackle quite genuine, tangible problems in their sessions. This is truly Stephen Wallem’s show. His characters transitions are effortless and completely believable, which is saying something when you’ve got a 6ft 3in 46 year old actor playing a 26yr old Valley Girl or a elderly prima donna. Robin’s backstory, while less interesting than the sessions, is important to understanding her character and add some depth to the play. I would like to see it evolve into a more integral part of the show.

Bedroom Secrets plays at The Players Theater 8/14 at 2:30pm, 8/16 at 5:15pm.

Joel Creasey: Rock God

Synopsis: Stand-up routine by up-and-coming Australian comedian Joel Creasey.

Why Go?: As Creasey says at the start, if stand-up makes you uncomfortable, just call it ‘storytelling.’

Stand-Out Bits: The youngest crowd I’ve seen at a Fringe show (like, literally tweens), which shouldn’t be too surprising since Creasey himself is only 23 years old. 23 YEARS OLD! Joel is charming and energetic. He’s thrilling to watch, especially when his stories veer off on seemingly natural and hilarious tangents. I can see why his fanbase is growing so healthily. Creasey puts on a front of a self-effacing, giddy millenial, but no doubt his powerhouse talent and incredible ambition is the cause of his success.   Whether or not stand-up belongs in a theater festival is a discussion for another day, but while he’s here in the US, catch him before he breaks big.

Joel Creasey: Rock God plays at the Players Theater on 8/12 at 3pm, 8/13 at 5pm, 8/14 at 7pm, 8/15 at 3pm

David Carl as Gary Busey

Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet by David Carl

Synopsis: Comedian David Carl plays Gary Busey, in all his eccentric glory, as he plays all the roles in a condensed and totally liberal production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Why Go?: This show has garnered the most buzz from the festival and is likely to please attract folks who don’t usually go to the theater out of sheer curiosity.

Stand-Out Bits: If you caught a glimpse of me at Sunday night’s show, chances are I had my mouth gaping open in wonder at what was going on in front of me. Or I was doing this. But of course I can’t just be over-joyed, I also have to analyze every little bit of what I see. And here’s my fantabulous interpretation of David Carl’s wonderful piece:

You know how Hamlet pretends to be crazy so that he can get away with being a) a total asshole to everyone around him and b) testing his uncle’s patience and wits while accusing him of murder? Sort of? I mean, Hamlet can just act out any way he wants under the guise of madness. It gives him the freedom to bend the rules, to act without regard to manners or structure, and puts him in a position of control.

Same goes for Gary Busey. In adopting the Gary Busey persona, David Carl can do WHATEVER THE HELL HE WANTS to Shakespeare’s canonical masterpiece. This includes substituting entire soliloquys with famous movie quotations, battling himself on camera, going on tangents about his career and famous friends, using makeshift puppets propped up by plastic forks to enact scenes with multiple characters, and SO MUCH MORE. This shtick never grows tired. Essentially, in making this Gary Busey’s Hamlet, Carl expels any expectations or theatrical standards and is in complete artistic control of the play and his audience for an hour and a half of brilliant comedy. “Madness in great ones should not unwatched go”

Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet is at Celebration of Whimsy 8/14 at 7pm, 8/15 at 2pm, 8/17 at 2:15pm, and 8/23 at 4:45pm




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