Plank Magazine 2

Plank Magazine.
Red Bastard: shame and the funniest bastard
Red Bastard wants you
Dina Del Bucchia
September 11th, 2009
Shame, humiliation, hilarity and so much beautiful saliva. The funniest bastard around.
Love, love, love, love. Fuck that shit was funny.
First off, I love red and am extremely partial to the word bastard. So even before the show starts, I’m feeling the love. From the first cheeky notes of Come Together, with a tease of his toe, a glimpse of his hand from behind the curtain, Red Bastard presents himself as cheeky, raunchy, intelligent and extremely willing to take control of an audience. Like a swollen, knobby American Apparel ad, Red Bastard bounds around the stage with a dancer’s grace and swears with a mobster’s grace. He is charming and vulgar. He is a theatrical dichotomy made bulbous flesh. He skewers our obsession with celebrity while begging for someone in the audience to introduce him to Kevin Bacon. With a flick of his hand he commands us to show off from our seats opposite him, while remaining the main attraction.
I have never been at a performance where the majority of the audience actually enjoyed participating. There was nary a grumble as he encouraged everyone to shout and move and, God forbid, get out of their seats. I haven’t been a willing audience participant since I was 7 and was mocked on stage by a sadistic magician for children. He Red would pick out audience members to harass, build them up with snide compliments and take them down with a truism about the way they view the world. Such a loveable and hilarious antagonist. By making the audience his students he becomes the teacher you are not just forced to listen to and obey, but want to. His own lack of shame forces the audience to see their own shames, as well as their insecurities, weaknesses and arrogance. But there is also a tongue-in-cheek message of hope for the future of theatre, the arts, morality, the whole big world. There is enjoyment to be had but also work to be done and the audience works for him just as he takes so much time to entertain.
And I haven’t even mentioned the saliva. Red Bastard spits in anger and provocation and then he spits again when he’s gleeful. He mocks performance art by calling his spit art, and yet he’s in front of the crowd. It was grotesque and beautiful and, of course, guffaw inducing. Beware the front row. Or don’t. Those barriers have already been broken down.
Red Bastard is a lumpy red ball of zeitgeist always on the attack and an exuberant and pointed bouffon. I left with red marks on my legs from the constant smacking they endured during my uncontrollable laughter and awe.  I became a red bastard. Go see this giant ass. You won’t regret it.
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