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I'm the Man You Meet Before You Meet the Man You Marry

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Manny Oliveira

COMPANY : Meet Before you Marry Entertainment [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 14th Street Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 3937

SHOWING : February 03, 2011 - February 27, 2011

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Single, successful, middle-aged and hip but still not "The One." But is that such a bad thing? A hysterically funny and poignant look at being truly happy and knowing the difference between being lonely and being alone. A hilarious world premiere starring Manny Oliveira


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Gerald McGee
Musician Ronnie Crepeau
Soul Antonne Broussard
Mind Vince Canlas
Heart/Soul Angie Harrell
Mind Austin McFarlane
The Man Manny Oliveira
Heart Kim Wall
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Charmless and Vile
by Dedalus
Thursday, March 3, 2011
1.0
Let me get my bias out of the way up front. I absolutely despise the sort of Vegas-style “insult” humor practiced by the likes of Don Rickles and all those various celebrity “roasts.” I’ve always found them cruel and unfunny, with the few lapses into “we’re only kidding” attempts at sincerity grossly insincere.

So, my reaction to Manny Oliviera’s vanity project, “I’m the Man You Meet Before You Meet the Man You Marry,” in which he channels the ghost of the not-dead-yet Rickles by casting insults to all the women he’s ever met (especially his Mother) should not be a surprise. I hated hated hated it, and mourn the loss of the time I spent watching it.

I do have to say up front that mine is perhaps a minority opinion – the reactions of the almost-full house at 14th Street Playhouse was enthusiastic and warm, which actually surprised me, since the audience itself was the target of many of Mr. Oliviera’s so-called jokes. Still, I often find myself outside the mainstream, and I actually find it very comfortable there.

Manny Oliviera is a Z-List “celebrity, whose IMdB entry lists only one credit. His program bio lists a few TV guest spots, but the bulk of his career seems to have been in stand-up comedy. This comes as no surprise, since he displays no acting abilty, and looks uncomfortable alone on the stage. He seems to stray far from any pre-scripted lines, often pausing to get back “on track.” And there are apparently a lot of dropped anecdotes, which come back as pointlessly vague allusions later in the show. To make matters worse, he spends most of the show pacing monotonously back and forth, left and right, lulling the audience into a hypnotic trance during which they’ll (apparently) laugh at anything that comes out of his mouth.

In a meandering monologue, he tells us about his strict mother, describes an early love affair gone bad, stereotypes viciously various ethnic “types” of women, interrupts himself for excursions into the audience for the sole purpose of insulting anyone who catches his eye, and (true to formula) too often “grows serious” for patently insincere moments of shallow platitudes. He finally ends with the clichéd observation that “being alone” is not the same as “being lonely.”

Straying so far from any script has the immediate impact of making many of light cues seem abrupt or otherwise misplaced. I don’t blame the tech crew for this, since I suspect Mr. Oliviera even gets the tech cue lines wrong, making it impossible for anyone to “follow script” for the show. This may be fine for a ten-minute Comedy Club set, but is disastrous for a two-plus hour theatrical event (yes it’s over two hours – far far too long, IMHO.)

All this might be forgivable, if he had an ounce of charm or respect for his audience. He doesn’t. He comes across like a past-his-prime lounge lizard, sneering at everyone and kvetching about how women treat him so badly. To be blunt, this entire project makes him seem like the sort of as$%^le who DESERVES to be treated badly by women and pretty much everyone else.

What actually makes me angry is that I saw this show on the same day as a marvelous little production of “The Meeting” in the smaller space downstairs. “The Meeting” is only being given a three-day run, while this show is enjoying a multi-week stay. If you’ll forgive a strained and extended metaphor here, “The Meeting” is the charismatic cousin you never knew you had who leaves the family reunion before you can really get acquainted. “I’m the Man You Meet …” is the creepy old uncle who stays long after the party is over and everyone else has gone home.

Your best bet is to stay home and miss this experience entirely!

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)
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