Written and Performed by Tim Manley; Directed by Peter Aguero
Part of the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Solo Show
Runs through 8.29.15
VENUE #4: Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street
by Keith Paul Medelis on 8.20.15
Tim Manley in Feelings. Photo by Jamie Harmon.
BOTTOM LINE: Feelings is what Fringe is all about.
Are you Fringe exhausted yet? Are you following the annual hazing of this beast of a festival from The New York Times? It’s true that there’s a large number of, shall we say, ambitious theater makers in this crowd. The respite is with Tim Manley’s Feelings that perfectly embodies everything that is fantastic about this kind of brigade of freaks and geeks the festival encourages.
With no more than an earnest, humble story to tell and a projector, Manley sets out to share with us his feelings. Yep, it’s just that. A story of his life and his feelings as an Irish-Catholic, bisexual, Long Island boy coming to terms with the harsh binary that makes up our cut-throat New York dating scene. Manley is, as he says, a “pioneer of new masculinity” in a production that is so millennial it’ll make you squirm. Happily, Manley manages to find new, unexpected terrain that avoids the oft painful, Girls-like, coming-of-age tales of woe. And he reeks of sincerity that radiates with the charm of a golden retriever. Somebody give this man a hug.
Manley is also an amazing illustrator. And here’s another reason why Feelings is so good. For me, there’s something ominous about the use of the projector in a one-show. It’ll be horribly abused, askew, and on some inferior PowerPoint slides. But Manley taps into his gifts by creating some amazing, adorable cartoons of the dates he goes on and moments he crafts. They’ll transport you effortlessly through the stories and provide some much-needed laughter.
With little more than two lights and a paperclip, this show—that takes place in nothing more than a living room on the LES—is wonderfully put together by director Peter Aguero. Aguero doesn’t allow Manley to move for almost the duration of show, standing firmly planted far stage right. And when we do cut the noise of charming drawings, we’re shifted into black, Manley moves center, and finally lets the mic drop. He cuts to the deep center of why we’re all here. He offers us that it’s ok to feel as bad as we need to feel at times. He offers that it’s ok to feel in the middle. And that love should be felt and given away. “I love you,” he says with bashful vigor. And, on this afternoon of performance, he reaches the end, makes an exit, and the backstage door has locked him out. We have a final, cathartic rush of laughter at Manley’s ability to embrace this awkward moment. I can’t think of a better way to end.
(Feelings: because why pretend the show is about anything else? plays at VENUE #4: Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, through August 29, 2015. Performances are Fri 8/15 at 7; Wed 8/19 at 2; Sat 8/22 at 5:15; Wed 8/26 at 9; and Sat 8/29 at 1. The extra Fringe Fave performance is on Sun 8/30 at 3:30. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit timmanleyhasalotoffeelings.com.)