Saturday, August 07, 2004

Fringe Day 1, Part 1 - Friday, August 6, 2004, 2:30pm

This Love Train Is Unstoppable and I Am the Conductor
Inept Productions
Jungle Theatre

Mom says, "This was a good way to start the Fringe."

I think I've figured out one of the reasons why I like some one-person autobiographical shows more than others.

If the person is willing to let themselves look bad, if they're putting themselves out there, warts and all, in all their baffling complexity and contradictions, and can still tell a good story (rather than try to make themselves the cardboard cutout hero of their story or not share much of themselves at all, just talk about other people), then they've got me.

Dave Mondy got me.

The show started like an informal conversation (as he explained that the set for the Jungle's current production of "The Dazzle" was not his own) and continued in that vein. And a charming and amusing conversation it was.

Mom and I had the same reaction - we weren't sure at the beginning if we were going to like it - how much does anyone really want to know about anyone else's mastrubation habits but their own - but when the boy became a young man and the partners involved were more than just the Sears catalog and his right hand, things picked up and show came fully alive as a human story.

The opposing pulls (you'll pardon the segue) between Dave's religious upbringing (which he not only embraced but for which became a sort of high school missionary), and everyone's basic human desires for physical contact and love, were fascinating (and humorous) to watch unfold as he laid them before us.

It's refreshing to see a person's life not be "either/or" - you can either be spiritual or embrace hedonism. Nice to hear someone demonstrate on a stage what most of us know but all too rarely hear - that the two impulses can coexist in a person's brain and heart without their head exploding or their - uh, member - falling off.

I don't think I'm doing this show proper justice. It's complex, but it's also very simple. It's dealing with a lot of big moments, but it's not self-important (or worse, maudlin), but in fact tremendously entertaining.

Dave also has a great way with a turn of phrase. I could fill a whole other blog entry - several - with deceptively plain expressions that were weighted with more than just humor or clever description. At times, he was almost a poet (albeit a funny, slightly randy one).

Favorites I still recall a day later, which probably only make real sense in context: "We drove like my car was stolen."
"He was the first lowlife I'd ever met and I wanted to make a good first impression."
A description of that love train and what it means...
"Excuse me, sir. Have you found Jesus?" "Why, is he missing?"

Spending an hour in Dave Mondy's company is time well spent. Frankly, I wish I could have had more. I was sorry to see it end.

Check out the amusing variations on his show/program photo on the different pages of his website,

(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit

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