The extraordinary Pat Kinevane has returned to Odyssey Theatre to perform in his inimitable, blazing fashion a trio of solo performance wonders. In October of 2016, he knocked me out with Underneath, the story of a dead woman who crawls out of the grave to relate the particulars of a life marred by the cruel accident of facial disfigurement. In Silent, he assumes the persona of Tino McGoldrig, a homeless man subsisting on coins dropped in a bowl by passersby and swigs from a twist-cap bottle of Merlot. With a stream of consciousness volubility, Tino, named for the 1920s heartthrob, Rudolph Valentino, ranges in haphazard fashion over the past with its grim horrors and occasional joys, always coming back to his brother Pierce, a young man of extraordinary beauty who had the misfortune of being gay in a time of intolerance and abuse. Pierce was an utter failure at suicide, until he wasn’t.
Mr. Kinevane roams the empty stage creating a myriad of characters with fluid, dance-like movement and bodily attitudes with a minimum of props. His mother appears when he drops the strap of his black tank top over his left shoulder and sashays about spewing vile epithets at her homosexual son, an everlasting embarrassment to her. Then there is the hilarious couple who never miss a funeral and the chance to display their mourning skills. Kinevane creates the girl that he will marry (and eventually lose thanks to his drinking) with nothing more than a blanket and vocal skills. He goes deep into the swirling mind of the homeless man, a person no different really than the many, many homeless that more fortunate citizens pass by every day, never knowing the depth of their dispair.
The performance is utterly mesmerizing, as complete a display of physical, vocal and intellectual skill as can be imagined. He sings with range and vigor, dances with sinuous grace, and coaxes responses from the audience. For this performance of Silent, he singled out two men simply by asking their names, Gary and Paul on the night I attended, who became touchstones that he came back to again and again throughout the show. (In Underground, on the evening I saw that performance in 2016, Kinevane developed a relationship with four women who became a part of the play.)
Every one-person show needs that skilled pair of eyes to guide the actor on stage and Silent, written by the performer, benefits from the keen direction by Jim Culleton of Fishamble: The New Play Company, the Irish theatre that is home to Mssrs. Kinevane and Culleton. The sound design and composition by Denis Clohessy adds enormously to the production. It is a design that works in incredible closeness with the performer, astonishingly so. No use to describe it; see the play. The lighting design is a group effort by Mr. Kinevane, Mr. Culleton, and Katelan Braymer. Catherine Condell is the costume stylist and the stage is impeccably managed by Beth Mack.
Silent plays on March 16, 17, 18, and 31 at Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Los Angeles.
(My review of the 2016 performance of Underneath can be read at https://paulmyrvoldstheatrenotes.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/underneath-at-odyssey-theatre/)