Written and performed by DANIEL DAMIAN0, directed by LESLIE KINCAID BURBY, “One With the Current”, is presented by FANDANGO 4 ART HOUSE, at 36th St. Studio Theater- 312 W. 36th St. NYC. and playing through Oct.8th.
So as not to beat around any vegetation, Daniel Damiano‘s, “One With The Current” provides a duple tour de force in both play writing and performing, while being ably assisted by the focused direction of Leslie Kincaid Burby.
The intimate black box housing of the 36th St. Studio is an ideal venue for the frontal effect of one man’s chronicle of perhaps our truest contemporary American tragedy: How a good citizen of our nation, a hardworking, taxpaying, loyal husband and father of two from North Carolina could morph from helping to re-elect Barack Obama in 2012 to being among the more violent members of the mob that stormed our Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
His name is Cliff. He is far from stupid, moderately educated, yet with a profound yearning for a sense of that which seems the most elusive of our “American Dreams”, FAIRNESS. While facing the house directly much of the time, Cliff addresses various unseen characters such as Ray, his frequent fishing buddy, as well as his patient wife, and his son Cliff Jr, while referring to his conspicuously absent daughter, Melissa who’s away at university not caring to deign a visit for the Christmas holidays, as he struggles with his hardware store finances to pay her tuition.
He votes for Trump in 2016 and is convinced that his way of life will be protected and even perhaps, be “made great again”, although unsure of what that means. Although raised in the southeast, he is decidedly not a racist, as evinced by his previous voting record, as well as his remarks regarding his African American neighbors. Yet he swallows whole the MAGA doctrine regarding the border and illegal immigrants, and how the economy is crumbling. And then, COVID, killing his business, which had been the greatest manifestation of his American Dream of being his own boss, having his own store, the first in his family doing so, dissolving before his eyes along with his bank balance.
Cliff’s father, although seemingly uncaring, did provide his son with at least one profound lesson on their frequent fishing diversions: that unlike the school of fish that by nature swim in the same direction as the flow of the water, “You ain’t no fish”, was the fatherly admonishment that suggested to Cliff the element of critical thinking: That one did not have to necessarily follow a man, or a crowd, or a mob. Cliff relates this to his own son early in the narrative recognizing its innate wisdom. Would that this good man remembered this lesson when the crucial time were to come. Cliff’s realization of this follows the design of a tragedy and is heartbreakingly rendered by Damiano’s masterful execution of his own text.
With 4% of this nation at present, representing literally millions, believing that the violence of Jan. 6th, and all subsequent threats and ACTS of further violence against any adversaries, be they political, legal, personal, or via news media of the former president, along with that 4 times indicted individual’s stoking the flames of such hatred is JUSTIFIED, is among the myriad reasons why “ONE WITH THE CURRENT” is not merely a remarkable work of art, but a a most valuable public service.
Tickets: $25….Solo performance running 70 minutes. Wed.-Sun.Eves and Matinees, contact eventbrite.com for more information and ticket purchases.
Photos are courtesy of DANIEL DAMIAN0