Wednesday, August 13, 2014

FringeNYC benefits: "No Static At All"

Alex Knox in No Static At All (photos: Karianne Flaathen)

Written and performed by Alex Knox
Directed by Becca Woolff

"Have you ever listened to a song and felt like the singer was telling your story?" asks the wiry, energetic Alex Knox near the opening of his one-hour monologue at FringeNYC, No Static At All. Maybe he should ask Roberta Flack, now that I think of it. Her answer, of course, would be, Why, yes--as would most of ours.

It's a banal question that tells you much of what you need to know about Knox's musing on a couple of supposedly parallel and troubled bromances--the first, between the two Steely Dan stars, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker whose song, FM, is the source of this play's title; the second, between Knox and his old school buddy, Josh. This show, like many bite-sized Fringe numbers, doesn't really have room to stretch out, and that puts pressure on Knox to rush his stuffed narrative and try to deliver something engaging and convincing. Despite a few truly funny moments--his argument that a certain rock in northern Israel renders sacred the name of his favorite band comes to mind--Knox doesn't quite make it.

With the exception of a nearly Talmudic exegesis of "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)," we don't learn anything much about the Steely Dan songs that have come to mean a lot to Knox and exactly what they say about the twists in the lives he and Josh have lived together and apart. We have to take all that as a matter of faith--and, in this work, faith turns out to be a very big matter, indeed.

Knox at first seems an ordinary sort, a bit intimidated by the sharper Josh whom he describes as self-assured to the point of arrogance. But he's just as capable of falling heart-first into an all-consuming religious pursuit--in this case, the Church of the Dan where momentary flashes of arrogance alternate with humiliation. 

Remaining shows:

Friday, August 15, 2:30pm
Sunday, August 17, 12pm
Wednesday, August 20, 9:15pm
Sunday, August 24, 4:15PM

The Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre
115 MacDougal Street, 3rd floor, (between West 3rd Street and Bleecker), Manhattan

For all things FringeNYC, click below.

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