Screwball’s Success

Review of Remember Being Born? at Taproot Theatre by Tucker Cholvin

Taproot Theatre, it seems, is a busy place these days. Currently in the middle of their production of Enchanted April, Taproot is also offering audiences a hidden late-night gem. Remember Being Born?, a one-man show performed by Solomon Davis, is a quirky and deeply personal story that refuses to be pinned down into just one category. Neither here nor there in its unique combination of stand-up routine, memoir, and coming-of-age story, Remember Being Born? makes full use of its adaptability to delve deep into Davis’ childhood and persona.

Solomon Davis in Remember Being Born? at Taproot Theatre
Photo by Liz Ragland

On stage, Davis begins as the funnyman—Steve Martin comparisons are inevitable, as his effusive, physical energy fills the house as well as when he whips out his harmonica for a doleful few notes at the end of a monologue. Other parts of his act seem improvised and unexpected, only adding to the fervor. His charm as a storyteller and his affection for screwball comedy succeed in winning audiences over immediately, laughing at one self-effacing story after another.

The mood shifts a little as Davis recalls his father dating, but the screwball comedy is never far off. With each new story, we see Davis a little bit older—one moment being told by his father to use his middle name, Mark, rather than Solomon, and the next moment auditioning for the high school play. Awkward by their subject matter, his stories are also powerfully endearing, and in Taproot’s small theatre the stand-up comedy of the beginning evolves into a story more deeply and intimately personal. Recounting being raised by his father after his mother’s death in a car crash, Davis yet again transforms the show, this time into a search for identity and where he comes from. Davis dwells most poignantly on the latter, seeking the mother he never knew out through memories, and hoping that she is the answer to who he is maturing into.

At its end, Remember Being Born?’s wit and humor does not degrade its intimacy and meaning, and its occasional seriousness does not obstruct the humor. Instead, Davis leaves his audience both with a smile on their face and a profound sense of who he is as a human being. Such a balance is hard-struck, and it is to Davis’ great credit that he can find it. Done well, theatre is the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of others than we can in daily life. In his incisive and magnificent performance, Davis’ Remember Being Born? succeeds marvelously.

- Tucker C
October 2nd, 2009

Remember Being Born?
Every Friday night at 10:15 through October 23rd
Taproot Theatre

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