I’ve at all times felt that the ability of comedy is underestimated. Humor could be grasped universally and understood as an insider’s secret on the identical time. By means of a joke, and the laughter that comes with it, we as people can skip the pretense and go on to connection. For those who get it, you get it. And in case you get it, you possibly can really feel each seen and understood. That is the way it felt to observe Marga Gomez’s Spanking Machine at 1st Stage in Tysons.
Spanking Machine is a one-person present written and carried out by Marga Gomez. Utilizing a mixture of monologue-like storytelling and stand-up comedy, Gomez describes features of her life rising up in Washington Heights, being Queer and Cuban and Catholic, and discovering connection and/or disillusionment in different individuals. The present could appear roundabout, however it’s stuffed with fast anecdotes that clearly converse to the guts of what Gomez is saying about her life and id, so spending minutes of runtime on Barnabas Collins of Darkish Shadows fame feels precisely proper as she goes on to clarify how Collins completely represents what it’s prefer to be Queer. It’s troublesome to explain the efficiency any greater than that since there are such a lot of particulars, however relaxation assured that in Gomez’s arms, every one is related and resonant.
Gomez is the unequivocal star of the present. There isn’t any manner for me to get at simply how rattling humorous her supply is. There have been moments in the course of the efficiency once I really howled. The fabric she’s written is deeply witty, her timing is bar none, and, maybe most necessary, the emotion, conviction, and earnestness are all there, as they need to be, contemplating that Gomez is such a seasoned performer. I urge you to witness this for your self.
Since a stable 90 p.c of the pull can come from Gomez’s ability and charisma alone, the technical elements of the present are well saved easy. Manufacturing embraces simply sufficient lighting (Elliott Shugoll) and sound (Kevin Alexander) cues to immerse us on this planet with out driving consideration away from Gomez’s verbal meandering. As an alternative, the adjustments in mild and atmospheric sound work collectively expertly to stipulate precise moments in time and place, ushering us between Miami and Washington Heights, childhood and maturity. Set dressing is simply as simple: two projections (Nitsan Scharf) body the stage (each childhood images of Gomez captioned with the present’s title), a field sits somewhat off to the proper, and Gomez often makes use of a stool. And there are two costume adjustments, each performed rapid-fire in entrance of the viewers: “You possibly can’t get this at Hamilton,” Gómez says, taking off one button-down and changing it with one other.
Like different items that strike related comedy gold, Spanking Machine has, at its heart, a disarming coronary heart of ache and reconciliation. Because the piece continues, Gomez lets the viewers in on the struggling connected to some, although not all, of her anecdotes. She at all times picks the humor again up, however we start to see the artist in full, as she shares with us the very actual, typically traumatic experiences that don’t construct this whole present however do body it. It’s shifting, to say the least, however it’s additionally conscious and therapeutic, due to Gomez’s honesty and self-awareness.
That self-awareness is what persistently shines by means of, and what takes the present to a complete different stage. At the same time as Gomez relates elements of her story that she was uncertain about on the time, it’s clear that she is aware of now, and is able to present up as herself and say what she has to say. Her humor, her artwork, is each open to everybody within the room and particular sufficient to say to the viewers: “For those who get it, you get it.” With every joke, every anecdote, Gomez appears to be saying: “If you realize, you realize.”And as somebody who, whereas watching, typically felt like I did get it, I can inform you that it’s actually one thing particular.
Operating Time: 90 minutes, no intermission.
Spanking Machine performs on August 5 and 6, 2022, at 8:00 PM and on August 7 at 2:00 PM, in repertory with Wanda’s Means and Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me However Banjos Saved My Life at 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Highway, Tysons, VA. For the entire Logan Competition of Solo Efficiency schedule and to buy tickets ($20 normal, $15 educators or army, $10 college students, $50 Competition Move), go on-line or name 703-854-1856.
The Logan Competition of Solo Efficiency program is on-line right here.
COVID Security: Masks and proof of vaccination are required. See full 1st Stage’s COVID Security Info right here.
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