Bob Birdnow’s Remarkable Tale of Human Survival

solo performance · second thought theatre · Ages 17+ · one person show · United States

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Review by anonymous

My overall impression

Found this online. A review from the show when it was done in Dallas…

Festival of Independent Theatres opens with a hit by Lawson Taitte Theater Critic [email protected]

The 13th annual Festival of Independent Theatres opened at the Bath House Cultural Center over the weekend. With any event that has recurred for more than a decade, it’s easy to look back and compare its present with the glorious past.

Truth to tell, the four shows (out of eight in all) that began their runs Friday and Saturday are all over the place. At least one of the early entries, though, equals anything FIT has given us in the past. That’s the show produced by Second Thought Theatre: — the world premiere of Eric Steele’s Bob Birdnow’s Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self.

The play begins before you realize it: A man starts talking before he even gets onstage and the lights have gone down. In fact, the houselights never dim. The title character, played by Barry Nash, is giving a talk to a group of salesmen. He insists that he’s not giving a pep talk. Boy, is he ever right!
Bob is a friend of the event’s host, so the initial banter frequently alludes to their common past. We eventually realize that this one-man show is all about the past. Bob has a long, harrowing story about — no surprise — survival and self-transcendence.

So many young playwrights tend to write plays about their own generation that it’s refreshing to see one delve into the experiences of a damaged middle-aged man. Steele, a Dallas filmmaker and actor as well as playwright, has an ear for the way people talk and a depth of empathy not to be taken for granted in a writer of any age. Director Lee Trull has helped Nash make both his character and the ordeal he describes utterly believable.

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