Edinburgh Fringe 2021
Michael Trudon grew up not knowing who he was. He thought he was Michael Trudon until at his grandmother’s funeral he was paid Tribute by those who turned up and called him Donnie DiMaggio Jr. The exposure of his true identity is then accompanied by his exposing his true purpose and his life in a monologue low on guilt and high on masculine adrenalin.
This is a solo performance piece which acts as developmental work for a future feature film. The direction of it is of someone who has got an idea standing close to a lectern delivering a monologue with the speech written beside him and to which he refers throughout. As he explains at the end, this is because of the complexity of the story he wrote.
As a film development piece there is merit in using the format of a theatre to test out storylines, interactions and where pauses and so on should go. But I get no sense of this being the purpose. Having admitted that the complexity of the story was difficult for him, I also found it hard at times to follow. There would appear to be several layers, some of which should bear riper fruit than others.
Whilst our solo performer is having to constantly look at a piece of paper rather than an audience, the focus comes away from the stage. So therefore, does yours. If an audience feels that you lack confidence, then they shall mirror that. I found it quite disconcerting at times. Whilst I understand the issue of wanting to use the medium of theatre to work through material, if you charge people to come in, you have to deliver something worth the entry fee. If you don’t have the lines learnt, they can get a little restless.
Which is a pity. Al Carretta is an engaging presence. Whilst the New Yoik accent is a tad too New Yoik for the Goodfella’s he has a charm onstage that draws you to him. There are elements of the script which work well and whilst another gangster mafia movie might not set the creative juices flowing within the indie mob, there is a mob, if you pardon the overuse of a pun, who will flock to see it. I went looking for his movies on IMDB and Prime afterwards.
Technically the lights went on at the beginning and then down at the end. In between there is a chair, a lectern and a bag with a clown costume in it which belonged to Donnie’s father. Everything was functional rather than florid and creative.
By the end I knew there was a decent story in amongst it all and that here was someone who had the ability to put together projects. The boast that he does so very cheaply, might seem appealing to some but for others in the industry a budget so small suggests a lot of volunteer or unpaid effort. Tonight, I hope the effort was worthy of a green light and a fulsome budget for others to profit from someone who clearly has what it takes to get things moving.