Harry, A Man Of Many Parts
Thursday, June 11,1998
by Anita Gates
Pete, Bob and Mary walk into a bar. “You can’t run around with primates all your life” says Pete (Sean Weil), objecting to Mary’s plan to adopt an ape. Mary (Eva Patton) wants Pete and Bob (Lars Hanson) to be the ape’s co-godfathers. But the guys have other things on their minda. Pete recently had a liver, kidney, panceas and partial-intestine transplant, so naturally, he doesn’t “have the guts anymore”, as he explains, for his former career as a journalist. Bob recently had a retina transplant and has given up his career in seismology. Both men, however, admire Mary’s new ears, which she picked up recently at the Cornell Medical Center.All this transplanting (and there’s more) sets up the plot for “Harry and the Cannibals”, Susan Mosakowski’s pleasant absurdist one-act play, which continues at La Mama E.T.C through Sunday. Not to give too much away, but the Harry of the title is deceased and he was an organ donor. The play’s bartender – waiter (Greig Sargeant) has an attitude problem, but so would you if you’d been brought up by a father named Frank Stein (Raphael Nash Thompson) and special ordered from the DuPont Institute of Eugenics.
This group of characters is soon joined by McCoy (Malcolm Adams, an actor with an infectious Robert Downey Jr. demeanor), a former mortician who wants to have sex with everyone, anyone, right now. They’re all soon mesmerised by a mysterious woman in black (Louise Favier) who has a film-noir presence and a secret connection to Harry. Meanwhile, Baby (David Giambusso), Mary’s ape, has learned to talk but inexplicably speaks Spanish. His first word is “leche”. And Dr Lacuna (Frank Deal), who seems to be all the other characters’ favorite mental-health professional, sneaks moments alone with his old heart, which he keeps in a jar. Yes, he’s a recent transplant patient too. Lacuna’s leopard-skin psychiatrist’s couch is one of several bright touches in Paula Longendyke’s clever stylish set. Along the way to the predictable but cheerfully silly conclusion, Mr Adams and Ms Favier capture a few moments of perfect absurdism. So does Mr Giambusso, usually without speaking. The play’s message – “We can’t let go of anything; we need all our parts”, as McCoy says – seems appropriately pointless.