Performing in this year’s Midtown International Theatre Festival is my favorite fabulous friend Rudy. The show is Fleeing Katrina, “A collection of monologues which tracks astounding journeys spawned by America’s most epic natural/manmade disaster.” And if you recall, I blogged about his evacuation story a lot last year.
I don’t know if their links die or not, so I am gonna go ahead and paste in the 3 paragraphs devoted to Rudy:
The portraits the actors paint, if never riveting, are all at least sensitively detailed. But only Rudy Rasmussen transcends the ordinary to achieve something more: He’s telling his own story, of all but forcibly evacuating his parents from their home, of experiencing firsthand the unnecessary anarchy that erupted in public places and hospitals alike, of the ineffectuality of public figures such as Geraldo Rivera, Al Gore, and even President Bush.
While Rasmussen’s program bio cites acting credits, his work is the evening’s most casual and least polished, suggesting – can it be? – that his words are being delivered extemporaneously. That kind of informality in a piece as delicate as this one – which already struggles under the weight of Kellerman’s awkward staging – could prove highly volatile. But Rasmussen’s corny jokes, silly digressions, and wide-eyed disbelief at the occurrences he describes make even the better of the other monologues seem overly mannered and actory.
It’s possible they might better capture their subjects’ inner spirits, but only Rasmussen achieves the true goal of Fleeing Katrina: finding reason in escalating randomness. However ragged his delivery, he’s the shot of adrenaline capable of making the pedestrian profound. Without it, the show is merely a theatrical exercise that tries too hard to approximate the heart and soul of the city and people it claims to be celebrating.