Written and Performed by Randy Ross; Directed by Manny Hans
Part of the 2017 FRIGID New York Festival
Off Off Broadway, Solo Show
Runs through 2.26.17
UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place
by Shoshana Roberts on 2.19.17
Randy Ross in The Chronic Single's Handbook. Photo by Sue Brenner.
BOTTOM LINE: Recounting tales of hookers, sex, and past relationships, Randy Ross tries to get to the bottom of why he is attracted to unstable women.
Nothing is off limits for Randy Ross. Using a white cloth to simulate cum, describing a grotesque zit in vivid detail, and recounting the tale of an amazing blow job from a woman in a pinstripe suit are all fair game in his solo show The Chronic Single's Handbook. Having had a plethora of relationships, Ross creates a spreadsheet and looks for trends within the data. He comes to the conclusion, with the help of his shrink, that not only does he have specific times of the year where he is more likely to be in a relationship, but also that he is attracted to "kooky, edgy women." Though he has attempted to stay with stable women, he takes us through stories of past relationships with those who are, and are not, erratic and unstable.
Because Ross repeatedly finds himself single, he decides to take a four-month trip around the world. His stories take us from a ferry in Greece with a whiskey-loving blonde Russian who thinks he looks like Bruce Willis, to Cambodia where he pays for sex for the first time. Part of Ross's problem is his pickup lines. Well, actually, pickup line—"So, are you having fun?" is all he's got. It's not too creative, but it seems to get the job done. Throughout these weird and depressing interactions/relationships/sex stories, Ross consistently brings up uncomfortable topics, including "bodily cheeses" and "A Night of Domination." After addressing his fetishes and his frequent description of smells (leathery, like a fresh apricot...), Ross continues to remain his strange, hopeful self to the very end. Contemplating dying alone and the possible theories as to why he becomes claustrophobic in committed relationships, Ross does dive a little deeper, but then circles back to his spreadsheet of women.
The Chronic Single's Handbook is actually based upon Ross's book God Bless Cambodia. While I am normally quite comfortable discussing and observing topics of sex and sexuality, even I felt awkward sitting in the audience. For the curious, the book's first ten pages are free online at godblesscambodia.com, providing a different experience with the amusing and ridiculous stories, but in the privacy of one's home.
(The Chronic Single's Handbook plays at UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, through February 26, 2017. The running time is one hour. Performances are Wed 2/15 at 7:10, Sat 2/18 at 5:30, Sun 2/19 at 1:50, Mon 2/20 at 8:50, Wed 2/22 at 7:10, and Sun 2/26 at 6:50. Tickets are $20 and are available at FRIGIDNewYork.info.)
The Chronic Single's Handbook is written and performed by Randy Ross. Directed by Manny Hans.