San Francisco Fringe 2016
“Everybody has a story. Does there have to always be a “‘lesson to learn’? Or can you just…’be’? Join this modern day jester as he shares his tale of love, heartache, whiskey, streaking, and what happens when you’ve never figured out when to shut the **** up.”
j.lee vocque aka Jaye in
Based on Actual Events
One black chair centre stage, then the performer and playwright, j. lee vocque enters and begins his story. He is wearing a turquoise shirt, maroon jacket, tartan sneakers, and a fascinating crazy hat with an interesting advisory printed on the top. Jaye calls himself a modern day jester and a storyteller and he truly is both of these. In this, his first one-man show, he tells a linear story recounting memorable moments starting when he was very young continuing through to his adulthood with moving memories of his parents. He is unmistakable and those of you who have been at the SF Fringe will have seen him around and especially in the audience, supporting many other shows – wearing the jesterish hat! Such spirit is admirable!
Directed by Tony Yaghi the show flows through the series of events with effective pacing and it builds to the end. vocque has a resonant voice and a dynamic presence. He is bold, honest and self-effacing, often telling stories about the scrapes he got into as a mischievous child. Looking at the audience directly, his expressive face and voice draws you in, wanting to hear what comes next. Although he mainly sits on the chair, he moves about the space, and uses minimal props during the sixty-minute show.
His dynamic storytelling is sometimes detached, often poignant, and always sincere, and all these attributes allow the audience in to experience the eloquent descriptive imagery. From his stories we learn that he liked Jello (at 5 years old), pop culture, rap music, girls and the usual adolescent stuff. His stories are vibrant and there is never a dull moment. It’s a relatable, dramatic, funny, heartfelt and moving show.
In one story vocque recalls asking a girl to dance when no one else would dance with her. This incident (plus a bit more backstory that I don’t want to give here, in case readers see the show) confirms the strength of character he received from his family. He experiences his fair share of being misunderstood but he always means well and some of the admissions are very funny and resiliently stoic.
Finally, Jaye believes that everybody has a story to tell (as printed on a huge turquoise prop) – and Jaye’s story is an inspiration.