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    Complete archive, 1999-present

    2008-2009 reviews:
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  •  REVIEW: TAXICAB CHRONICLES

    Taxicab Chronicles

    When you wish upon a car

    "Taxicab Chronicles" is a fare-to-middling comedy which brings different people together to laugh together, to cry together, and to get out of the freakin' cab.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    Five cabs, five drivers, five passengers, one day — stop me if you've heard this one before. Actor-playwright Gary Gere borrows this premise from Jim Jarmusch's "Night on Earth" and sees if he can give it a twist of his own. The biggest twist is that Gere himself plays all five cabbies, complete with five nationalities, five voices, five hairstyles, two genders and approximately three sexual preferences.

      
    TAXICAB CHRONICLES
    Written by: Gary Gere.
    Directed by: Abigail Zealey Bess.
    Cast: Gary Gere, Denny Dale Bess, Laura Bell Bundy, Marlene Hodgdon, Bill Lewis, Mary Jane Wells, Karen Young.

    Related links: Official site
    The theme of the show is cross-cultural understanding, as characters from different backgrounds share a ride and discover that they have more in common than they realized. A wealthy dowager and a working-class Italian, a privileged party girl and a sad Nicaraguan clown, a high-powered lawyer and a mystical if confused Indian/Bangladeshi (with a Muslim name and a Sikh turban) — all turn out to be brothers and sisters under the skin.

    Gere has two problems in pulling off this idea, though. First, most of the scenes turn on the well-worn idea that the rich are all miserable people who've never learned that they can't buy happiness. Second, the play only scratches the surface of each character, and when each one reveals some hidden vulnerability, it's done in a line or two of dialogue that leaves too much unexplained and ultimately has little emotional impact. You've suffered a tragic loss in your family? Hey, I've had an unhappy childhood, so we're really the same. This is so incredible!

    Gary Gere in Taxicab Chronicles  
    Gary Gere
      
    In this one respect, maybe it's not unfair to hold this play up against its obvious inspiration, "Night on Earth." When a society woman in that movie chats with a working-class driver, she's not reduced within ten minutes to confessing that her whole life is a fraud; she is more subtly changed by the encounter. When a cabbie tells about the death of his daughter, the story is unfolded slowly and the emotions are given time to brew. "Taxicab Chronicles," on the other hand, lacks the patience to let a story tell itself. These five vignettes are not heartfelt conversations but breezy chats. They have their funny moments, but they're essentially a series of "SNL"-type skits that may not stick with you long after you leave the theater.

    OCTOBER 1, 1999
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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