The Riverwalk Theater’s latest play “Laughing Wild,” a rather dark comedy by Christopher Durang and directed by Kerry Waters, is the story of a man and a woman, an incident in a grocery store and a lot of dreaming.
“I wanna talk to you about life,” the Woman, played by Marni Darr Holmes, tells the audience as the play starts.
This then leads to the first of two monologues, in which the Woman talks about a wide variety of things, many of which are still relevant today, such as abortion, global warming, mother issues, AIDS, but it’s the pop culture references that are fairly dated, making it clear that this play was written in 1987.
Throughout her monologue Holmes kept asking the audience if they were following along, many did, but it took everything in my power to not shake my head, since I was lost with many of the pop culture references that related to the 80s, an era I did not grow up in. A recommendation to anyone that sees this but wasn’t around in the 1980s, just type 1980s America into Google and I’m sure you will understand many more of the jokes than I did.
Even though many of the Woman’s jokes were dated it was her raw emotion that she brought throughout the play that made me keep paying attention, even when I wasn’t sure what was going on. Holmes has made the Woman into not only someone that you can tell from the beginning is a little bit crazy but a woman that is also deeply disturbed by her life and how it’s gone thus far.
After the Woman’s monologue it was time for monologue number two, done by Man, played by Michael Mahoney, to begin. While he did have moments that could be relatable to any generation, such as how he was truly “starved for meaning” in his life, there were one too many references to 1980s pop icons that left me wondering who he was talking about.
While I was confused with some of the things that Holmes brought up I wanted to keep watching her unlike with the Man, who made me laugh a few times but there wasn’t anything else to keep me invested in what he was talking about, leaving me bored more than anything else.
The second half of “Laughing Wild” seemed like the movie Inception, but not as well acted. There were dreams within dreams with both being in the others. At one point the Woman became Sally Jessy Raphael, a 1980s talk show host, and did an interview with the Man, who became the Infant of Prague, which was a famous doll and one of the funniest moments of the play.
It also consisted of them talking to the audience, and not so much to each other, as if their monologues from before were just being continued, except this time they talked about the dreams that they had just acted out. The second half also brought back a lot of things that the Man and the Woman had talked about once before, showing that their lives were more intertwined than they thought.
“Laughing Wild” may be a play that brings up, and makes one think about, issues that are still extremely relevant to this generation but in the end those brief moments just weren’t enough to keep me “Laughing Wild” or interested.
“Laughing Wild” is playing at Riverwalk Theater now until August 14th, in the Black Box. This play contains strong language and sexual references.
Friday and Saturday