note: entire contents copyright 2004 by Carl A. Rossi
I recently scribbled that the time has come for theatre pieces to reflect how Americans are feeling today about the attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001, now that the nation has moved beyond its initial shock, anger and grief. At Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway Theater, the New York-based comedienne Reno is slamming out her current thoughts on the matter with thought-provoking humor in her one-woman RENO: REBEL WITHOUT A PAUSE. If comedy requires a detachment, a stepping back from one’s subject matter, then Reno’s show is all the more amazing as she first conceived it only weeks after the tragedy, performing and revising it onstage and in an award-winning film. She is angry as hell and refreshingly welcome.
Reno, who lives in the Wall Street area, begins with her being awakened by the impact of the first plane crash and later fleeing her neighborhood as one of the “nouvelle refugees” to encounter an island city yellow-taping itself in panic while the National Broadcast System, for all its years of preparation, was not activated at Zero Hour. Since her performance is largely spontaneous, Reno sidetracks --- entertainingly --- to take on our current President, religious fundamentalists, the Republican National Convention and the unenlightened side of human nature; she leaves no prisoners --- she even admits to not liking the Twin Towers, while they stood (a feeling shared by many New Yorkers). I was fascinated and amused by Reno’s political savvy, her ballsiness and her motor-mouth comedy (she quips that when she packed a duffle bag on 9/11, her vibrator jumped in, all by itself --- if you laugh at that comment, then Reno is for you); chances are I could never win an argument with Reno but it’s good to have her put into red-hot words numerous things that tongue-tied Americans are thinking and feeling here, now, in this troubling election year.
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