By Rebecca Kurtz
If there is one thing to be said for Meet the Glory Wholes, it’s that the creatively minded Joey Maranto has contagious confidence. Sixty minutes alone onstage is no small feat, and Maranto managed to make the small room at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church feel full.
In telling the story of career failure, middle-aged white men, and accepting fate, the lines between Maranto and his character become muddied. He is attached to the story and it shows through his somewhat proud delivery.
While the plot is original and compelling, Maranto shows no humility or detachment that would make it easier to laugh at the disappointed, unfulfilled character he portrays. If you told me Maranto was delivering his own life story, I would almost believe you. At the very least I would believe Maranto and his character shared opinions of Jerry Seinfeld and minivans.
Meet the Glory Wholes featured no set – we are occupying the narrator’s mental space rather than any physical location. Maranto makes good use of physical objects, and I could tell where we were in the performance by how far down the line of props he had gotten. Even though the presence of the props on stage made some parts of the performance predictable, more often than not it was a guessing game of how the yearbook or Mother’s Day card would fit in.
This element of Maranto’s physical decisions was strong, but as an actor, his performance lacked thoughtful blocking. Instead of taking command of the whole stage, Maranto kept to himself front and center, abandoning his post only to bring a prop back into the middle with him. Perhaps he intended to emulate the nonchalance of stand-up comedy, but even some basic physicality of hands and eyebrows could have enticed the small audience more than his stagnation did.
As a whole, this production didn’t leave me wanting more. I recognize the difficulty of the task Maranto took on, and the complexity of the play he’s created, but wouldn’t recommend this show unless you were in the mood for an hour of mindless laughs and sex jokes.
Running Time: 60 Minutes, with no intermission.