No cosmic question is too challenging to escape the laser wit of Bill Santiago. In The Immaculate Big Bang, which he wrote and performs, Santiago ruminates across a philosophical spectrum ranging from quantum physics to Catholicism, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to Islamic images of Paradise, as he probes under the hood of science and belief and discovers both their profundities and absurdities. Along the way, he explores the existential properties of Dr. Seuss’ immortal Green Eggs and Ham, the concept of parthenogenesis as a possible explanation for the virgin birth, and the apotheosis of Apple products.
Does that too sound scattered or complicated? It’s not. Santiago’s musings are impeccably connected, providing us with insights that penetrate, sting, enlighten and amuse in this provocative and funny one-man show.
Santiago’s narrative is positioned between the time of his father’s death and his daughter’s birth. Bill’s father was a terrific dad –always in the moment with his kids. As a husband, however, he was often M.I.A. in the arms of his paramours. Mom, we learn, prayed to her Catholic saints for an end to her husband’s relentless philandering. When that didn’t work, she went straightaway to a local Santeria priestess in the Bronx. The result, according to her boys, was a hilarious episode known to this day in the family’s folklore as “the baked potato.”
When his Dad lay dying in a hospital, Bill casts a jaundiced eye around the nurse’s station – noting that it sports an enormous dead plant. What were his father’s chances among such signs of neglect? After he passes, Bill muses about the word ‘wake.’ Wasn’t Dad experiencing the opposite?
These days, Bill’s take on the universe turns around his beloved young daughter Cielo – whose name is the Spanish word for sky. In this tiny tot, he sees the culmination of all human history and the possibility of unlocking the secrets that connect the generations across time – until, of course, Santiago sticks a pin in his overblown balloon of revelation and it deflates in a side-splitting nanosecond.
All of us experience life cycle events that make us pause and contemplate. But few of us have the talent to either pen such an exquisite show, or perform it with poise, terrific timing, and gravitas. Fortunately for us, Bill Santiago has the chops to do both. You will never have a better time musing on the nature of life.
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.
Check other reviews and show previews on DCMetroTheaterArts’ 2016 Capital Fringe Page.
RATING: BEST OF THE 2016 CAPITAL FRINGE!