To See or Not to See: Bright Colors And Bold Patterns
“Please refrain from wearing bright colors and bold patterns” is the offending remark that fuels Drew Droege’s utterly hilarious one-man play, fittingly titles Bright Colors And Bold Patterns.
Gerry (Drew Droege) has arrived in Palm Springs, California for the wedding of his friend Josh (who is marrying “boring” Brennan). Gerry and his old friend (and old lover), Dwayne, are staying in a rental along with Dwayne’s young boyfriend, Mack, and Dwayne’s ex-boyfriend, Neil. Gathering by the pool, the play unfolds over the course of an afternoon into night. During this time, Gerry, incensed that the wedding invitation instructs guests to not wear bright colors and bold patterns, downs margaritas like water, snorts cocaine, and harps on the bland wedding ceremony they’re going to have to participate in the next day. Gerry talks relationships, marriage, and everything in between. Walking the line between hilarious life-of-the-party and the guest you don’t want around, Gerry’s personality is, in a word, large.
Did I mention that this was a one-man show? All the other characters in Bright Colors And Bold Patterns, aside from Droege’s Gerry, never utter a line and never have a physical presence–aside from the lounge chair they might be inhabiting. These empty furniture pieces scattered around the stage are where, as the play goes on, we conjure up Dwayne, Mack, and Neil. It is almost natural for Droege to direct his conversations to a chair; you have no trouble following any of the conversations.
Michael Urie’s direction is one reason Bright Colors And Bold Patterns is a successful play. The transitions between scenes are smooth, and, as noted earlier, the pace is brisk. (And, to hear more about Urie’s direction from Droege, check out the chat we had with him about the show.)
The other reason this show is so delightful is thanks to the masterful performance and writing by Droege. His intense level of energy hardly wanes in the brisk eighty minute play. He speaks rapidly and, seemingly, without breathing. His pop culture references are zingy. His reactions and mannerisms were hilarious. And, it wasn’t all laughs. Droege portrayed the few moments of vulnerability and gravity with equal skill, like when Gerry shares a particularly poignant story about realizing he didn’t fit in as a child and how that effected his life. Rather than making Gerry a caricature, he made him human.
Indeed, watching a forty-something, selfish adult go out of control has never been so entertaining.
Bright Colors And Bold Patterns is running at the Soho Playhouse through January 7. For more information, click here.
Photo Credit: Russ Rowland