Theatre: What Not To Say To A Woman
Smart And Spicy
March 16, 2017
"Your breasts look incredible in that outfit." Inadvisable pickup line, for sure, Dude. That no man should ever say that to a woman he wants to impress is a given. Yet for Paul Linke, somehow that dealbreaker line didn't implode his chances. The result of his 25-year love affair with the woman he had just met is "It's Time," now showing at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. "It's Time" is as much a paean to love, in its way, as is Shah Jahan's Taj Mahal, built in 1643 as his profound love story for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Around seven or eight million people visited the Taj Mahal in 2014, which while it would probably make the Pacific resident theater quite happy, just wouldn't be possible in this intimate theater space. Paul Linke is a man on fire. His passion, and his energy, super-dominate his tour de force as he handles the difficult situation of turning a catastrophic event in his life into a romantic story he clearly loves to share. Linke calls himself a monologist, pronouncing it mono-lo-jist, surprisingly. Of course, you don't often get to hear someone saying that word in just normal talking. He made me think about Spalding Gray, whom I was lucky enough to see in person at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Gray came out to meet people in the lobby before the performance, talking to everyone and asking about their own personal stories. He then put on a totally impromptu conversational interview play based on these early conversations with several people. It was enormous fun to meet him and tell him about yourself, yet hugely disappointing not to be one of the chosen. Watching his choices of whom to interview up on the stage, I realized he had been clever in selecting people whose stories had theatrical legs. I asked Linke about Spalding Gray. "I can't say enough about him. I ran into him in New York many times. I saw him as a signpost. He did his monologues one way; I do it differently. He talked to the audience, I talk to connect with the audience." When you're in the audience and Paul Linke is the star, you definitely feel connected to him. There's no escape actually. There's a technique the trial lawyers use called "stringing the bow." It's a method of connecting on a personal basis with each individual member of the jury. The lawyer walks right up to someone in the jury, staring at him full face, hard.
That's what Paul Linke does, but he doesn't do it, as lawyers do, going from juror to juror sitting all in a row. He jumps around, going to the person next to you and then the person behind you, and suddenly, it's your turn. And the force of his heart eyes and all of his anime energy produces a scary strong connection between the two of you. Paul Linke's sheer physical energy dominates the stage. I don't know where he gets his strength, at 69, for his amazing physicality. He told me he has learned over the years what, and when, to eat before performing. A word about the Pacific Resident Theatre: it's more of a community then just a theatrical playhouse. To my surprise, I learned that one of the amazing things they do they get a group of writers together over a 24-hour period. The writers write a complete play, or seven of them, along with all the production people you need to actually produce a play. They're all in it together. Then in 24 hours the play is actually produced. You can go to see it! I'm looking forward to doing this the next time it happens. "It's Time" is rather timeless. It's the story of how Linke lost everything when his wife died, leaving him with three young children and not much but despair. The play is about meeting Christine, and the redemption, and resilience, love brings. This is a sweet, positive, optimistic story that will make you smile. Definitely a winner. Paul Linke is definitely someone to watch in the future. ______________________________________________ Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything. You can write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org