Presented by OutPost 186
Written and Directed by Randy Ross
November 13, 15, 17, 21-22, 2015
OutPost 186 on Facebook
Review by Travis Manni
(Cambridge, MA) During a conversation I had with a friend recently, it was decided that us twentysomethings are in two categories: the kind that enjoys hooking up with no strings attached, and the kind that is self-aware of the fact that they are not ready to be in any kind of a relationship. So it was quite surprising for me to see that the same could be somewhat true for older singles in The Chronic Single’s Handbook.
Solo actor Randy Ross depicts some of the highlights from his romantic affairs as a man who is chronically single. The hour-long show includes seven scenes, each one dedicated to a woman he had some kind of romantic or physical relationship with. Some take place in Boston, others are abroad during a backpacking trip around the globe. While he is the sole performer, Randy is able to depict his sexual exploits so explicitly that I agree with the show’s 18+ rating. His descriptions are crisp, though at times pushed my friend and I over the edge of our comfort levels (the front row isn’t ideal for unsolicited pelvic thrusting). But I will applaud the man for being unapologetic about his exploits, which give a fresh and honest take on what it’s like being single past middle age.
There were a number of things in Randy’s story that I identified with. For one, he comes off as a lost vagabond wandering the world to find something meaningful. I think this is a universal type of loneliness that everyone has experienced at some point in life. Also, Randy comes to the realization that finding a significant other is never easy, but it’s a satisfying sensation once you do. It’s just a matter of whether or not we’re willing to put in the effort.
This show has been a five-year process, including writing the script and taking it on tour in different fringe festivals. I can’t speak for those original touring performances, but what this production lacked was authenticity; there is an extreme disconnect between the actor and his delivery. The acting felt rather forced throughout the show, a clear memorizing of lines and not the genuine storytelling that I had expected from the autobiographical piece. Randy goes through the motions of his performance while being too conscious of what his next, precisely rehearsed move will be. While his writing is honest and relatable, Randy’s portrayal of himself would work better if it were more of a conversation with the audience rather than the overworked monologue it’s presented as.
For tickets and show times to The Chronic Single’s Handbook, click here. Use promo code “chronic” to receive tickets for half price!