Fringe NYC 2015
In this one man show Israeli performer Dor Zweigenbom bares his soul to the audience. Using mime, soundscapes, puppetry and more, does he seek our forgiveness or forgive himself? Regardless, he earns our sympathy with this grotesque yet poignant piece.
When the show begins, we are confronted with the physical image of an older Israeli, who we would come to know later as Dor. Silent of speech, he shows us images of a poor cold man, left out in the cold by Christmas. At first we wonder if this show is to be entirely physical, until he introduces himself and we realize that our entry point was a show within a show, a display of his childhood foray into theatre, to the dismay of this mother, who we grow to despise over the course of the hour to come. How I Killed My Mother is an hour long piece that might be self-indulgent if not for the heart breaking story behind it.
This show is worth seeing if only for the physical elements. Dor Zweigenbom uses his body and shape in a number of ways. The simple notion of how his shirt might be tucked in dictates a character he is portraying, and it is also delightful the subtle ways he uses his voice to create individuals, not feeling it necessary to change pitch so much as to just play with rhythm and intention.
There are a few lengthy bits in the show that don’t seem to further the plot, as in the cowboy segment, which is extremely well executed despite the lack of connection. And we are in the theatre in the first place to be entertained, so enjoying his slapstick physicality is not so hard to do. The sound design accompanying these physical feats is impeccable, and the timing so perfected that one wonders whether the music designer Yair Seri or Dor himself manifested the soundscape.
Also delightful is the small amount of puppetry in this work, when he creates a scene between himself, his sister and his mother, using simple shoes. This moment is easily the most touching in the show, as we see these characters brought to life as small shoes, beaten down emotionally by their careless addict mother embodied in a hard bright red vinyl pump.
There is the question of the asides. It is confusing; why feel the need to argue with himself onstage? The scenes between himself and others are wonderful recreations, envisionments of what has transpired, while the soliloquies take us out as we wonder how they will tie in at the end. In fact these sparrings do not come clear in the conclusion, but what does come clear, however, is that helping his mother to die is the right thing to do. And we are still left wanting – how does he help her to die? Perhaps that is not so important as this man being able to share his turmoil as his way of letting go of this past. A past that so many children of this world share.