BRIAN DYKSTRA SELLING OUT
The latest uncensored solo tour de force from HBO def poet, award-winning playwright and actor, Brian Dykstra. The Village Voice says, "Brian Dykstra is working hard to turn ranting into a new genre, and if he succeeds, comedy may not be safe. He can make you think as hard as you laugh." You don't want to miss his latest exploration of the American condition. “Brian Dykstra has managed to fit the crux of secular humanism into a story about a cab ride, and make it both hilariously funny and moving. In his latest show at the Kitchen Theatre, Brian Dykstra Selling Out, the New York City playwright/actor/slam poet builds up to this masterstroke via a rant that takes the form of a tour of the injustices that currently outrage him (and the left, in general). Dykstra stalks the stage between an end table piled high with magazines and newspapers and a filing cabinet filled with material printed off the Internet, digging alternately into these two troves of information and then sharing his research with the audience in his manic, pop-eyed profane and yet hyper-articulate way. As he summed up point after point with a particularly ferocious line, there were actual murmurs from audience members that amounted to the secular humanist equivalent of “amen.” “One the marvels of a Dykstra performance is his constant redefinition of the porosity of the “fourth wall.” He can lift his eyes to the ceiling and cry out to the world as if there is no one in the room with him, and he can look a particular audience member in the eye after they have laughed at one of his jokes and improvise a snappy one-liner just for them. Between those poles he addresses the assembly with varying degrees of directness. This deployment of actorly skill causes dramatic changes in the emotional distance between you and Dykstra, which keeps you engaged, to say the least.”
Barrow Street Theatre (NYC)
Whitefire Theatre (Los Angeles)
Dorset Theatre Festival (Vermont)
Kitchen Theatre (Ithaca, NY)
Playroom Theatre (NYC)
Mark Twain House (Hartford, CT)
Franklin & Marshall College (PA)
“Brian Dykstra is a master of language, absurd flights of fancy and raw, unbridled emotion and director Margarett Perry gets the best out of him. A visiting production from a New York performer who must be seen to be believed.”
"Just as (Mort) Sahl could be devastating about the state of the States, so is Dykstra, long one of our most effective political stand-ups. He's been funny on the endlessly disturbing subject for so long that it's a wonder he isn't much better known. Why, an observer might very well wonder, doesn't he have his own Comedy Central half-hour? If Larry Wilmore does, why not this sly-fox guy?"
“The balance he finds in delivering his material while remaining eloquent, warm and inclusive obviously comes from warm natural depths as well as a honed delivery. This appealing willingness to speak truth has found audiences on and off Broadway, in London, regional theater, film and TV. Though it provokes self-examination by design, his A-plus entertainment scours the ear and soul clean.”
"Brian Dykstra Selling Out is a brilliant, witty, thoughtful evening that engages from start to finish. This riveting one person show will incite you to wonder and remind you what it means to thoughtfully sneer at idealism, not always believe what the talkers are talking, and love in an entirely Darwinian kind of way."
“Brian Dykstra $elling Out should be... It should be sold out for a very long time. While appreciating George Carlin, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Brian Dykstra takes political comedy to a new high: think Mort Sahl on steroids."
"Remember Peter Finch’s rabble rousing ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!’ from the film Network? Brian Dykstra has articulated that rage with the incisive aim of Mort Sahl (if you’re too young to be familiar with Sahl, think Jon Stewart and Gail Collins), the convincing zeal of con man/tent evangelist, Elmer Gantry, the alliteration of Welsh author/poet, Dylan Thomas on speed, and a smattering of Lenny Bruce invective (free style, vulgar, often political, stand-up comic). He’s scary smart. A liberal humanist humorist.”
“Standing firmly on the shoulders of a familiar group of angry, middle-aged white guys with rich vocabularies who came before him, Dykstra delivers his diatribes and one can hear strains of George Carlin, Bill Maher, Michael Moore, Mike Daisey, Norm MacDonald and, especially, Lewis Black. In some moments of righteous rage he seems to almost be channeling Black, though he substitutes a dark sense of irony and a knowing smile for Black’s urban neuroticism and spastic fingers.”
"We have so many words for money and Brian Dykstra goes through all of them. He's building a cannonball of words for battle against the evil powers that be. This is what he does; he uses words -- so many words -- to pull us in and shake us up. We little guys have words too, and we can make some noise and maybe even change the world! Maybe...In an eloquent, passionate, and pretty darn funny mixture of spoken word poetry, conversational argument, and shifting from one voice to another, Dykstra builds his thesis and fully commits to the immediate problem at hand: corruption by irresponsible corporations and people with lots and lots and lots of money."
Dykstra manages to bring together all his loose ends. His earlier rants against the injustices wrought by those who worship money were coupled with the repeated question, “Why don't we do something about this?” In the last of several spot-lit poetic interludes that punctuate his performance Dykstra movingly explains that we should oppose the influence of money, not because God loves us, but because of our love for one another. We are, he says, worth it.”
“His liberal views are fired like missiles…when Dykstra spikes his rage with humor, his immense talents shine brightly. As anyone that has seen him square off against the microphone on HBO’s Def Poetry can attest, Dykstra’s limber, aggressive poetry style is perfectly suited for this political material, establishing a rhythm with his words that make music out of his grievances.”
“His performance as a Somali “pirate” struggling to provide for his family despite overfished waters and U.S. government sanctions was transcendent.”
“Dykstra’s new work, Kitchen-commissioned and directed by Margarett Perry, is molten lava — full of fire and fury, fluctuating and not yet solid — in short, the kind of experimental adventure the Kitchen’s to be congratulated for. And Dykstra and Perry are, as ever, an accomplished, admirable team — creating provocative theater that, well, provokes…This production prompted me to again consider: What actually makes us change — or work for change?”
“It’s like a really good action movie, but all the action is in the language. And Dykstra is a master at manipulating verbiage.”