Capital Fringe Review: “How to be a Terrorist’ by Mariya Danilenko

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How To Be A Terrorist is a one-man show starring Jimmy Grzelak, a registered Eagle Scout, who takes the audience through his personal stories on being a scout and being gay.

 Jimmy Grzelak.

Jimmy Grzelak.

Grzelak’s stories are endearing, his recount of the history of the scouts is funny, and he manages to get the audience to sing along with him (the songs he learned at camp). And speaking of songs, Grzelak is an excellent singer. At one point, he sings in a deep operatic voice and the room becomes silent, in awe of him. It is hard to believe that such a big voice came from a small frame. His range is impressive too: going from falsetto to a deep bass, and is reminiscent of Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The decor was simple, as was the lighting, which Grzelak tended to.  He was dressed in his own Eagle Scout uniform and all he had with him on stage was a backpack filled with crumpled newspaper, twigs, and a couple of logs.

Why this title, though? For one it’s eye-catching, but Grzelak tells us being a gay eagle scout, an angry young man frustrated by the stigma surrounding his sexual orientation, and being able to make a fire out of almost anything, the thought of burning things down to make a point has crossed his mind. Grzelak says it in a way that makes the audience empathize with him. It’s a funny, heartfelt, and moving performance.

Running Time: 55 minutes.

How to be a Terrorist plays through July 20, 2013 at Fort Fringe Bedroom – 612 L Street NW, in Washington, DC. For performance times and to purchase tickets, visit the show’s Capital Fringe page.

 

 

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