Monomania

Don't look now, but the writing seems to be on the wall for the one-person show. Even Downtown is not sure it has enough time or interest to absorb every last detail about the protagonists of New York's groovy literary scene. Two recent one-mans at P.S. 122, Mike Albo's Spray and Jonathan Ames's Oedipussy, do little to break through the malaise of the monologue.

Albo is a talented and earnest sort who likes to stir up ironic snickers with subtle physical movements, a nasty take on New Age, and a poetic sense of storytelling. By riffing on the neuroses of "the Sliver Generation," he reveals the horror of a consciousness shaped entirely by market research. But while his ability to find the synchronicity between Netscape, Yahoo!, and Netanyahu (among other mass- media artifacts) is seductive, he doesn't separate himself enough from the subjects of his arch lampooning. We're left waiting for the real Mike Albo to please stand up.

There are some hilarious moments in Jonathan Ames's Oedipussy, but his nice-Jewish-boy- with-a-small-penis- who-sells-a-novel-fresh- out-of-college- only-to-descend-into-a- sleazy­New York­demimonde-of-sex-and-drugs shtick is utterly clichéd. So are his references to Freud, Proust, Beckett, and the ambiguous nature of Porky Pig's gender. One skit, about how talking in a yenta voice on a phone-sex line got him into a gay boxing match in the St. Mark's Hotel, had good storytelling momentum. But most of this material, as well as the guest appearance of "Mangina," a naked man wearing a prosthetic vagina, seemed like a master's thesis from the creative writing program at Howard Stern University.

 
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