The Atheist

dps atheistA delayed review – I was quite busy actually producing the show.

This was the second-ever production by my theater company, Think Tank Theater, and the first full-scale one.  I’d been introduced to Mr. Noone’s work my sophomore year of college when my playwriting professor Scott T. Cummings mentioned his name.  A former friend later directed his The Blowin of Baile Gall in Los Angeles.  So he’s been on my radar, but never in a wildly serious fashion.

Then I started to hunt, this summer, for a one-man show I could convincingly play (being that I’m 21 and could pass for 17).  This show came up in an article about Chris Pine – now playing in a McDonagh play in LA, this show was his pre-Star Trek gig that started to really create some buzz for him.  I did some research and, on a whim, ordered the script.

We can talk about the performance some other time – but the feeling that came from reading this script the first time was rather… conflicted.  On the one hand, it is a powerful show.  One man, talking about doing whatever it takes to achieve fame.  On the other hand, there are very few things to initially like about Augustine Early.  He is manipulative, a bit slimy, rather vindictive, and absolutely heartless – except he isn’t, at all.  It just takes another read to realize that.

Noone doesn’t do any favors for those inclined to hate Augustine by adding three female “characters” in Augustine’s narrative who all fail him at some point – they fail to be the ‘mother’ he really needed.  So you could, as some reviews have pointed out, blame the women in his life for not providing that mothering influence that heaven knows most men need.  But I can’t.  I simply can’t see him that way – and I didn’t play him that way.

The play packs a wallop of an ending – one that is expected and even hinted at, but still comes as something of a surprise.  And Augustine’s voice is… unfiltered, to say the least.  But what’s most impressive is the way that this play – through both its meta-narrational conceit and simply the things that Augustine says – forces a reader to evaluate the way he/she looks at the press and our relationship to it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.  Maybe that’s because I was in the show, which does give this play some sentimental value.  It isn’t the best piece – its certainly rough around the edges in a lot of places – but it is powerful and raw and I think that’s as important as anything else.

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