Open: 08/13/10- Close: 08/27/10
My Dadís Crazier Than Your Dad: A Scientific Inquiry|
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Serena Pomerantz
Katharine Heller deserves much more than just a good review. She deserves much more than an outstanding review. She deserves a celebration in honor of her and her contributions in My Dad’s Crazier Than Your Dad: A Scientific Inquiry in the New York Fringe. The musical Sunday in the Park with George says, “Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new” and Ms. Heller’s show achieves spectacularly in reminding us that we all have stories to tell. We all have our own ways of dealing with the hardships and victories that we have and telling them in a play is one of the many ways. So many people worry when they set out to create any kind of art that it won’t be original and innovative. However, if one lets a story come authentically and truly from them, then of course it will be new. There are plenty of plays about crazy families, but Ms. Heller’s story about her crazy family is her own and not an imitation of any other play. She tells her own story from her and, as a result, it is completely fresh and exciting.
My Dad’s Crazier Than Your Dad is Katharine Heller’s one-woman show (and true story) about how she believes her dad is crazy. Through video clips, anecdotes, photographs, and charts, she scientifically attempts to prove that her dad is crazier than anyone else’s dad. She finds a way to make a disturbing story entertaining, but not so entertaining that people don’t process the intensity and gravity of what she is saying. An audience member may come out delighted by the way the story was told, but also, he or she may come out suddenly appreciating the little things in life and the fact that their dad did not put a dead rat in one of their beds or fake his own death (both of which Ms. Heller’s father did).
It is very clever how she tells her story. As she explains that her parents were biologists and psychologists, she takes a scientific approach to convince everyone how crazy her dad is. She wears a lab coat and talks about the scientific method as she fumbles around with her beakers and measuring devices. The projection design by D. Alex Bright and sound design by John Emmett O’Brien are as innovative as Katharine’s story. They help add to the world of the play because of all the scientific music and images that are provided. She wasn’t just telling creepy stories about her father. She was proving a theory, as she liked do say, but she indirectly proved another theory about art. If you use yourself properly, you are enough. You don’t have to change yourself and fit into a mold of what someone else wants you to be.
Katharine Heller reminds us the beauty of art is that there is always something new to contribute to the world. It is inspiring to all audience members to think of the stories they have to share about their lives and how the world is better off hearing real stories about real people. Most important, she achieved her objective for she convinced everyone in the audience that her dad was crazier than their dads.
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