The definition of compelling

Review of How? How? Why? Why? Why? by Ian S., age 17

First I just hear Kevin Kling's words. Or, more accurately, a jumble of words. I'm somewhat distracted, and this seems a bit boring, so I'm not hearing exactly what he's saying. My eyes keep darting around the stage taking in the scene before me, but my thoughts are just somewhere else entirely. And then I notice something: Kling hasn't moved his right arm the whole time he's been standing up talking. His left is atrophied, and it has been since he was born, I can tell by just looking at it. And I understand that. But why hasn't he moved his right arm?

And then it occurs to me: he's going to tell us about why he hasn't moved his right arm. And there's got to be an interesting story behind it. And I start listening to every word he says. And I'm hooked.

Kevin Kling and Simone Perrin in How? How? Why? Why? Why? at Seattle Rep. Photo by Chris Bennion.

Kling makes near perfect use of the stream-of-consciousness style to tell his story. Though the delivery sometimes feels slightly forced, what he's saying is so compelling that it hardly matters. The story flows freely, going off on tangents wherever Kling feels it's necessary. He's got a lot of stories to tell, and they all seem to point towards the eventual climax: his motorcycle crash. If the motorcycle crash is the climax, then his recovery is the falling action. The rest of the play deals with his childhood and his personality. With the help of an accordion-playing woman (Simone Perrin), Kling presents a mosaic, giving us hilarious caricatures of friends and family from his life before the crash. But most of the story is all his.

"…and this little kid in the elevator at the hospital says to me, 'I bumped my head on a post and I had to get eight stitches back here.' And I say back, 'Oh yeah, well I had to get stitches from up here down to here and all the way around here and back up here.' And the kid says, 'Well yeah, but mine hurt.' And I said 'ok.' Who am I to deny another man's pain?"

Ian S.
March 18th, 2008

How? How? Why? Why? Why?
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Through April 19th
More info and show times:
Seattle Rep’s Ticket Office: 206-443-2222
Ticket Office Hours: Daily, noon – performance time

Seattle Rep is located at 155 Mercer Street, on the North edge of Seattle Center. It is served by buses 1,2,3,4,13,15,16,18,45, 74 and 85. For bus times:

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