Here is a review from KDHX, the local independent radio station in St. Louis, for my St. Lou Fringe performance! Click on the post title to go to the website and read it (Or just read it here!), and other reviews of St. Lou Fringe shows.
"The Lord Loves a Working Man"
As the stage lights went up on Eric Warner sitting at the lone, school-desk for his monologue “The Lord Loves a Working Man” at the Kranzberg Arts Center Black Box Theatre, the house lights stayed dark.
”Can you turn the house lights up, please?” were the first words out of Warner’s mouth, spoken with a touch of meekness.
It was a fitting start to his monologue, a 50-minute-long float through the memories of Warner’s life, unchronologically drifting from childhood to his 31st birthday. Throughout, one conflict holds his story together: the fear of the unknown, and the desire to conquer the unknown. And that sort of conflict makes for one anxious man.
He stammered like Ira Glass on fast forward and seemed nervous, giving the audience the upper hand, but always had control. He didn’t stop when the audience laughed, nor did he chuckle at his own jokes—he rolled straight through. The lack of smugness or pretension was endearing, and after the first 10 minutes, he hit his pace and stride without losing a filter of anxiousness in his story telling.
The main line of the monologue dealt with his adventure west from Chicago to build houses with a group of men. With no experience, he recounts planing lumber, failing to lift heavy things and building a house, He rambles through the men’s characters, similar to him, touching upon the pains of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. It’s all set against a fixation on Teddy Roosevelt and his Bull Moose tenacity. Warner sees a role model in his independence, and grapples with his own failures to emulate the tales he reads in a Roosevelt biography.
The house brackets tales of a jumpy chronology, hitting childhood, young adulthood and the recent past. He hits his major sweet spot as he recounts his first visit to the Registrar’s Office at St. Louis Community College - Florissant Valley. After recounting the registrar asking him about his career goals, a stream of consciousness dribbles out of Warner’s mouth for the better part of two minutes, as he stumbles through careers he’s interested in, only to follow up with a reason why it wouldn’t work. It’s generalized anxiety at its purest, but unguarded.
He ends the monologue on a seemingly hopeless note: the house isn’t finished, but it will get done. However, his 10 days are over, and he’s made no progress on his relationship or career aspirations—he’s still reeling from a break up, broke and jobless. The light fades as he repeats “I guess I’ll be a…I guess I’ll be a…I guess I’ll be a…”
Warner’s monologue was the one show I felt I needed to see again. Not so much because I enjoyed it—I did—but because I found myself reaching back throughout his ramble, trying to piece together his carefully scattered memories. He leaves a trail of crumbs leading the listener from his childhood fears to young adulthood to adulthood, drawing faint but weighty lines between a child’s fear of crossing the street to career and relationship anxiety with a gracefully tumbling stage presence.
Johnny Buse, KDHX