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Sunday night, a friend and I went to see Daniel Beaty's one-man show, "Emergency", at the http://www.geffenplayhouse.com/>. I have been looking forward to it for two months now, so when he took the stage, I was pretty hyped.

I was unsure as to how to blog about this. As a fellow thespian, I
truly appreciate the fortitude it takes to do something like this, but I have mixed feelings.

Daniel Beaty is a consummate performer. Talented, insightful, and well-trained. A finely-tuned instrument with a commanding vocal range rarely seen these days. That said, I'm glad we bought the tickets half-price on Goldstar.com, because otherwise I would have been disappointed, and I really hate to have to say that.

The performance itself was amazing. For 80 minutes, Mr. Beaty artfully and seamlessly slipped from one character to the next without a hitch. Again, his acting was nothing short of brilliant. The writing? Not so much. It was like watching a race car driver in a Yugo: No matter how skillful the driver is, the vehicle limits the ride. I don't want to give the story away, but the premise had a promising start and just seemed to get weaker and weaker, as it took a backseat to the character portrayals and the poetry interspersed throughout.

I've seen mixed reviews, and now I understand why. Some people appeared to be bothered by the language (there was some cursing, but it was minimal) at times, and others appeared to be disturbed by some of the subject matter (racial issues). It's impossible to please EVERYONE, and the best art is usually controversial enough to ruffle some feathers, but the audience didn't seem to have much energy, and the energy of the audience is important as well. Some people got up & walked out during the performance, and I saw quite a few people sleeping, including my friend, who later said that he just didn't feel that the story was compelling. I'd have to agree.

It's worth seeing, just for the caliber of the performance alone. I did find inspiration in it, so I didn't walk away empty, but unfortunately I can't say it's "must-see" theatre.

--Nicole J. Butler

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