Virtual Theater Review: THIS AMERICAN WIFE (FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy O. Harris)

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by Tony Frankel on May 25, 2021

in Theater-New York,Virtual


[On the phone.] Girrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl! Wazzup? So, listen, I saw the craziest thing the other night. No, not THAT thing. That’s old news. No, it’s this kinda performance art meets theater meets improv meets homage to reality TV meets virtual streaming meets post-irony meets me gulping down a martini. Hold on, girl. [Gulps.] Sounds like a hot mess, doesn’t it? Well, it kinda is and kinda isn’t. So, like, we meet three guys sitting separately in the back seat of a Lyft or Uber or … not sure … who are telling us telepathically (ya know, voiceovers) about how much The Real Housewives TV show saved their lives (I guess like Dynasty saved ours, right?).

Patrick Foley, Jakeem Dante Powell, Michael Breslin

Patrick Foley

They show up at a real mansion in New Jersey, enter following a mysterious rich blonde with one helluva booty, and immediately become these Housewives. Well, emulate them. Well, drag queens as housewives. I dunno. Anyway, they start spouting lines from the Housewives franchise (I guess. I mean, I’ve stayed away from that shit after watching a few minutes, ya know? It’s all, so, like, mean, bitchy catfights from rich bitches … whatevs).

But this thing called This American Wife turns out to be totally LIVE. And the camera work is, like, ASTOUNDING as these three follow each other around the mansion. But then they drop their personas and become themselves interviewing themselves. And they’re like, either lying or telling the truth (which is one thing about Housewives that made me turn that shit off!), and it suddenly feels so millennial. I mean, clearly we have some uber-intelligent actors and writers — and especially the director — but it wasn’t but a few generations ago that theater practitioners in their early 20s were, like, Orson Welles and …

Michael Breslin, Jakeem Dante PowellPatrick Foley, Michael Breslin

Whoa, girl, whaddya mean it sounds like I’m griping? I’m not, bitch. I just found this thing seemingly making a LOT of statements, but it all felt like one big in-joke disguised as self-examination, ya know … and needed to be, I dunno, funnier? But damn, they sure did keep my attention, even though it was lo-o-o-o-ng, and didn’t make any real ultimate sense. But I’m an old Queen. Charles Pierce makes sense. LOVED the lemons, though. And the chicken. But… I mean, would this make more sense if I was in on the culture which is being skewered? I mean … oh, well … [gulps another martini].

photos by Nina Goodheart

This American Wife
FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy O. Harris
conceived & written by Michael Breslin & Patrick Foley
directed by Rory Pelsue
dramaturgy by Cat Rodríguez and Ariel Sibert
production and props designer Stephanie Osin Cohen
costumes Cole McCarty
streams LIVE through May 29, 2021
then VOD thru June 6, 2021
for tickets, visit This American Wife

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