It takes an East Village
Casey Fraser's funny one-woman show, "Why We Don't Bomb the Amish," remembers what was good about New York before the mayor and Mickey Mouse cleaned it up, and wonders if we lost part of ourselves when we lost part of our city.
By JOSHUA TANZER
Never mind what you've heard about books, you can often judge a good off-off-Broadway play by its title generally, the more enigmatic the better. So you know "Why We Don't Bomb the Amish" will have a certain level of intrigue to live up to, and mostly it succeeds.
This one-woman show is a chance for actress-comedienne Casey Fraser to get a few things off her chest, especially when it comes to the cultural cleansing of New York City and of America. Fraser remembers growing up in the East Village "back when the kids in the street were runaways, not film students," when the hardscrabble downtown life was not just a theme for trendy Broadway musicals, when NY wasn't just half of DKNY.
|WHY WE DON'T BOMB THE AMISH|
|Written and performed by: Casey Fraser.|
Directed by: Darren Press.
Related links: Official site
The show is often very funny, like when Fraser cleans up Times Square in the persona of Mickey Mouse, but it's not start-to-finish laughs. Rather, go see it with Mort Sahl or Lenny Bruce in mind. Or think of an interesting friend you like to chat with over coffee. (You might be tempted to answer some of her observations out loud, and a few people in the audience do.) Punchlines are just part of the picture some of the show just consists of perceptions about life out of whack, and there's some stream-of-consciousness beat poetry to shake things up as well. After the show, you might find yourself thinking most about her satirical but serious take on the disappearance of authentic places, the degradation of community, and what I think of as the biggest lie of the late 20th century: "Your call is important to us."
So . . . why don't we bomb the Amish? Why did David Koresh and his brood go up in an apocalyptic fireball while the Amish are merely considered lovably eccentric? It's best if I don't disclose that, but Fraser will explain and when you think about it, she's right. It has more to do with us than them.
|JANUARY 20, 2000|
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