Failed to deliver
The Father, the Son, the Holy Truth
KC Fringe Festival
Comedian Mike Smith's show The Father, The Son, and The Holy Truth opened at the Westport Coffeehouse Theater on Monday, July 23rd. The show is a one-man play (excluding the speaker, God, behind the scenes) with inspiring messages concerning religion, Christianity to be more precise.
In a non-descriptive setting, Jesus wakes up from his sleep only to find out what the human kind has done in the last two thousand years since he's been gone. His conversations with god reveal the truth about some widely accepted religious beliefs and figures.
The conversation begins with Apostle Paul's shady deeds and proceeds toward the Christianity today. Smith, with keen insight and well gathered material aims to provoke thought into where our religious beliefs really come from. He encourages the audience to look carefully to discern the truth between god-sent messages and the human-made ones.
His point is interesting, and after hearing Smith's message, anyone would be tempted to take a second look into the source of their religious knowledge. The performance on the other hand was insipid and fell apart.
I wanted this show to be good so badly, but so many things went wrong for Smith. The show included projection of images and an off-stage reader for the role of God. Smith explained that they had problems with the technology before the show. This is understandable, especially if it is the technology at the Westport Coffeehouse which seems to be happening more often than not.
As a result there were problems with the projection, but they seemed more due to the operator than the projector. His assistant who was in charge of the projection couldn't tackle the simple task of hitting a key for the next image, and seemed to find Smith's hand gestures for "next slide" too subtle. The audience had to wait in awkward silence for the next slide. There was a moment where I wanted to turn and shout "change the slide!" Smith handled the situation with jokes as much as he could, but couldn't hide his frustration later on resulting in an even more disrupted performance.
The reader for God had also major problems with his reading which seemed unrehearsed. He stammered, missed his cues, and spoke over Smith's lines. He had no dramatic ability, and spoke his lines in a flat tone.
In the Fringe opening night, Mike Smith's teaser was the first one I marked down as "must see." At the opening, he introduced the show as a stand up, so I thought that's what I was going to see. The little segment he performed at the opening night was brilliant and full of energy. The play version lacked all the exceptional qualities of his stand up act. He repeatedly lost focus (I would, too, if I had to remind someone to switch to the next slide every five minutes.)
This material should have left as a stand-up act. It wasn't put together well and didn't suit the dialogue format. That way he also wouldn't have to say "wow" every other second as a response to each revelation.
On his defense, Mike Smith is a comedian, and this is his first play, and it was the opening night. His message is strong, but if he wants to keep it as a play, he needs a playwright, or a text editor, a PowerPoint savvy assistant, and more rehearsal time. Just to reiterate though, as a stand up, this show would have rocked (just saying).