Following the success of The Tricky Part—out writer and actor MARTIN MORAN’S solo show based on his eponymous memoir, for which he won an Obie Award and two Drama Desk nominations in 2004—Moran’s second one-man stage show, All the Rage, again finds the artist dealing with big-picture questions. “[It’s] a compulsion to answer an inquiry that won’t go away. Like: How do you forgive the unforgivable? Or, what is the real place of anger in our lives? Or, how do anger and compassion live side by side?” Moran explains.
But the show isn’t all brooding self-reflection. “There are a lot of laughs, though, along the way,” the Broadway actor admits. There’s even a fight with a “fuming stepmother” (hey, we’ve been there), a conflict with a taxi driver (been there, too) and a confrontation with a corpse.
Don’t expect a plodding, three-hour epic, either: “It’s over by 8:20 so we can go across the street and have a drink and chat about all the rage.”
—All the Rage at Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 W 42nd St (btwn Ninth/10th Aves). Mons at 7pm, Weds–Sats at 7pm and Suns at 3pm and 7pm through Feb 24; $55. Visit alltherageplay.com for more info.
See the full interview with Martin Moran below:
This is the second time you’re doing a one-man show. Do you enjoy the attention of the solo stage, or is it more of a challenge?
When I was a gawky gay kid who suddenly found himself in a high school musical I think I fell in love with the kind of attention the stage can provide. But this “solo” thing comes down to some kind of other mysterious imperative. Not getting attention, but answering a question. A compulsion to answer an inquiry that won’t go away. Like: How do you forgive the unforgivable? Or, what is the real place of anger in our lives? Or, how do anger and compassion live side by side? These tricky questions seem to take over my psyche and, alas, they demand that I try to answer them by talking out loud all by myself to fellow humans. Insane? For better or worse? I’ll let you be the judge of that. There are a lot of laughs, though, along the way.
You’re also working with Seth Barrish again. What makes your working relationship so good?
We trust each other deeply. He understands my obsessive questioning. He lives a block from my house! He’s a mensch.
Your first one-man show, The Tricky Part, was based on your celebrated memoir of the same name and was intensely personal. Can we expect a similar performance in this show?
Yes, in some ways, this is intensely personal but, the main engine of the overall story has to do with other people’s lives as funneled through my personal quest. It’s personal but...global.
This show is about a Manhattanite who ends up in Las Vegas for his fathers funeral and ends up getting into it with his stepmother. Is it based on your own experiences at all?
Well, the fight with my stepmother is really just the very beginning of the piece. It kind of opens the door to a much broader look at understanding my relationship with anger. But oh yes, the fight with the stepmother is absolutely true. Eight years ago on a crazy hot Las Vegas day.
Have you been to Vegas? It’s not my kind of town, and I think a lot of New Yorkers would agree, yes?
I used to visit my dad and his wife there once a year or so and (I think mostly cause I wasn’t there for fun and misadventure) I really disliked it. I do love the West (I grew up in Colorado) but I find Vegas tough to like. It strikes me as kind of pile of compulsive behavior rising in the midst of a parched landscape. Of course, I know there are a lot of Mormons, too, to sort of calm things down.
You’ve also been in an impressive list of productions. Do you have a personal favorite from over the years?
I feel so lucky to have been in several shows that I truly loved but three always come quickly to mind as top-notch experiences. Floyd Collins was sublime, Titanic was a total joy, and Cabaret at Studio 54 was one of the best jobs ever.
Anything else we need know about the show?
Just want you to know that while it’s about a quest to understand anger (it includes a raging fight with a taxi driver , a confrontation with a corpse, a wild trip to Africa) it’s also really, really funny and it goes so fast. It’s over by 8:20 so we can go across the street and have a drink and chat about all the rage.