Sunday, January 07, 2001

One-man act opens new Playhouse series

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Gen X marks the spot for Playhouse in the Park. Hence nine winter weeks of the new Monday evening “alteractive” series, which carries the mission to lure new audiences to the Eden Park theater with out-of-the-mainstream performances. Cost is a friendly $8.

        The opening act is David Cale, 1999 Obie Award winner for Lillian, lyricist for Debbie Harry, member in good standing of the Jazz Passengers, and widely acclaimed as one of America's premier solo theater artists.

  • Who: David Cale
  • When: 7 p.m. Monday
  • Where: Playhouse in the Park plaza
  • Tickets: $8, students $5. 421-3888.
        Mr. Cale is more fortysomething than twentysomething, suggesting that young and hip is as much a state of mind as a range of age.

        For his Cincinnati debut, Mr. Cale is planning “a concert of pieces,” including work from past hits Deep in a Dream of You and Betwixt, which earned raves in its New York debut last spring. There also will be brand-new work rising out of his part-time career as a movie actor.

        The characters in Betwixt are English people living in America — which is what Mr. Cale has been for 20 years. The United States feels like home, he says, more than his native England ever did. He never did develop the American accent he wanted as a youngster and is planning to finally apply for U.S. citizenship this year.

        Mr. Cale is a betwixt and between sort of fellow. He is hailed as a monologist, but he's a musician at heart, so much so that his performances “initially were me reading my lyrics, and the shows are still laid out like recordings in a funny kind of way.”

        He first captured the attention of audiences and critics for his dreamy reveries about sexuality, and he's betwixt about that, too. He wrote about himself in The New York Times last year, commenting, “Professionally, I've always found strength in being not quite this or not quite that.”

        Mr. Cale has been doing movies ever since Woody Allen invited him to be in Radio Days in the mid-'80s, “and I'm picky, but not in a position to be picky,” he says mildly.

        “I just worked on a film, The Slaughter Rule. It won't be out till some time next year. I played a country singer, alcoholic and diabetic, living in his car.

        “I've never felt such an emotional connection to someone I've played in a film,” he says, so he's been developing “prequel” pieces to explore how Studebaker came to be living in a car in Montana.

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