Interacting with History in Patriot Act

Mike Schlitt’s one man show, Patriot Act, is pretty much what you would expect to hear if you asked for the first of a three-part series in “how we got to here, politically.” From the Founding Fathers — specifically Adams and Jefferson, presented as somewhat foul-mouthed and deranged-looking hand puppets — through Jim Crow and all the way to the concept of corporate personhood and what the Constitution means when it says “All men are created equal.”

Lady SchlitterbySchlitt goes about breaking down the terms “men,” “created,” and “equal,” acting much like a teacher — albeit the “cool” teacher — leading the pre-exam discussion. There are question and answer breaks and people are called on to voice their opinions about cultural equality and political representation. Heck, there’s even a snack break. This is all to say that it isn’t really a “show” show. It’s more of a survey in basic American political science told amusingly but somewhat awkwardly by someone who feels passionately about what we’re going through as a nation and concerned about where we’ll go from here.

Mt. SchlittmoreWhat Schlitt makes up for in content he lacks in organization. There’s clearly a lot to say on the subject, so he set his desktop countdown clock for 47 minutes before diving in. As the discussion continued, he continued to note the remaining minutes with increasing concern. One missed phone cue and a couple of lost thoughts into the performance, as the clock neared the five-minute mark, he actually seemed surprised by how little time was left and much content left to cover.

Emergent panic does nothing for performance quality. What I will say is that first shows, like the one I attended, are usually the ones performers use to see what works, what doesn’t, and get out the kinks. Considering his ample experience and body of work, it’s likely that this will just get better with practice. If the least you get out of it is a history refresher, that’s not a bad thing either. And there are always the cookies.

Photography by Shawn Stoner

Remaining performances: Wednesday August 24 @ 9:15pm, Saturday August 27 @ 9:15pm, and Sunday August 28 @ 5:15pm at Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company (70 East 4th Street – Lower Level — Bowery & 2nd Avenue).  

About Marti Sichel (71 Articles)
Marti Davidson Sichel is happy to be a part of such an impressive lineup of talented contributors. She has always loved the capital-A Arts. Some of her fondest early memories include standing starry-eyed at stage doors to meet musical cast members who smiled and signed playbills, singing along to Broadway classics and dancing as only a six-year-old can to Cats. She was also a voracious and precocious reader. The bigger the words and more complex the ideas her books contained, the better — even (especially) if a teacher raised an eyebrow at the titles. Marti’s educational and professional experience tends toward the scientific, though science and art are often more connected than they seem. Being able to combine her love of culture and wordsmithing is a true pleasure, and she is grateful to Woman Around Town’s fearless leaders for the opportunity. A 2014 New York Press Club award winner, Marti finds the trek in from Connecticut and the excursions to distant corners of the theater world as exciting as ever. When she’s not working, you can often find Marti in search of great music, smart comedy and interesting recipes.