Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jan Munroe's Alligator Tails


Jan Munroe and friend Photo by Arlene Karno

Jan Munroe’s credits are broad:  ranging from stage to film to television. His time in Paris with Marceau and Decroux as well as major story telling chops all combine to make his brief one man (and an alligator) piece worth a trip to Pico just west of La Brea. 

Thirty years ago Munroe conceived and performed this piece at whatever the Skylight Theatre on Vermont was called back then to appreciative audiences.  Part of the audience tonight featured more Munroe relatives who created a real family feeling for the evening. With six generations going back and back mostly centered in Quincy, Florida, we meet cousins and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and parents’ parents and parents, too.

These many years later, Munroe’s approach to his own words flows like honey.  He brings to life dozens of his relatives and others.
I especially loved the aunt with alligators in her pond (the big one’s name is Joe) which hardly ever bother anyone, "but ya gotta watch out for them water moccasins." 

From the spooky McAdams suicide house to Granddad’s hanging up the phone on an opportunity to partner with R.J. Reynolds, we are treated to stories that reflect another time and a quaint little place in the Florida Panhandle where cousins stuck together.. and still do to this day. 

Munroe originally performed Alligator Tails in about 1994 under the direction of his friend Steven Keats. The simple set features two white rockers, a huge map of Florida showing Quincy centered between East of Nowhere and West of Nowhere with sharks in the Gulf and Hurricanes in the Atlantic.  Ahhh, Paradise.

As a monologist, Munroe ranks right up there with Spaulding Gray and Paul Linke.  We hang on each Alligator Tail brought back time and again with sweet tea, black eyed peas, chitlins and Co'Cola. (The list I neglected to make proper notes of, but it's music to the ears) His rap is pure melody, his score:  the symphony of life.  The work is unfettered by pretense.  With a little luck this show will extend.  It deserves an audience.   

Well played, Mr. Munroe, well played.

Written and performed by Jan Munroe
Saturdays at 5PM
Sundays at 7PM 
Mondays at 8PM through March 24, 2014Theatre Theater 5041 W Pico Blvd 90019  Tix $20  Reservation 323 850 6344

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