After a 2015 run at La MaMa, Gardiner Comfort's intimate solo show about being an actor living with Tourette syndrome transfers to Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop. More…
Created with his frequent collaborator Kel Haney, the play explores the week Gardiner spent at the Tourette Association of America National Conference in Washington, DC. Surrounded by hundreds of other people with Tourette's, he realized it was the first time he felt "normal." Using an erratic and energetic performance style (a nod to Tourette's itself), this original show blends comedy, dance, and a personal outlook on disability.
"The show is a gift of earnest passion and fierce honesty. It gives you an unfiltered view into the awkwardness of living with Tourette...The performer’s charisma and infectious energy also makes the production a worthwhile experience...'The Elephant in Every Room I Enter' is an extraordinary feat of storytelling and a brave act of turning oneself inside out...It’s the closest thing you can get to experience what it might be like living with Tourette." Full Review
for a previous production "His humility mixed with his acute observational prowess produces rich storytelling that’s warm, generous, and impressive in its range. The performance is demystifying and educational from the perfect person to do so: an actor who has lived with TS his whole life...It’s equal parts artistically bold and politically important. By the end, audiences will be invested in Comfort’s journey to uncover order in a world that feels as frenetic as Tourette Syndrome itself." Full Review
for a previous production "Theatergoers get lost in his psyche just as he must become lost in the wheels of his chaotic mind on a regular basis. Comfort carries such a commanding physical and vocal presence on stage that one never feels taken out of the story...It’s a high-octane, radical experience of a solo drama, a refreshing piece of experimentation." Full Review
for a previous production "Combined with gorgeous movement evocative of the syndrome itself, the play feels like a deep sea dive through Comfort’s mind. Further compliments to director Kel Haney for filling the stage with a whimsical vision that kept the solo performer in the spotlight, but never lonely...The Elephant in Every Room I Enter is not about a man making sense of Tourette’s. Rather, it is the act of a man offering you the story of his life and challenging you to make sense of it." Full Review
for a previous production "Comfort is a charming, versatile performer: He can dance, shift personas, inhabit multiple characters with dialects and physicality, and somehow exude a vulnerability wrapped in confidence...We watch a deeply talented performer with TS sharing honest, touching stories, and for that I am deeply grateful for 'The Elephant in Every Room I Enter.'" Full Review
for a previous production "There are moments of great beauty and humanity. Clumsy times when perhaps a better interstitial could be imagined and of course as in any life, the quiet waiting for something else to happen...All the elements knit together to create a piece that illuminates one of the most visible things that a person carries with him into his life, but it further made this reviewer ponder all the unseen tics and experiences that follow each and every one of us into every cranny we enter." Full Review
for a previous production "Comfort’s performance reaches a deeply moving conclusion as he performs a solo dance expressing the subjective truth about his condition. What could have been a cruel undergraduate sketch comedy joke is instead indescribably heartbreaking. He has shared with the audience earlier that physical exertion, whether in the form of sports or choreographed movement, seems to have a calming effect on his compulsive behaviors." Full Review
for a previous production "It’s possible Comfort presented too many characters for them to viscerally stick with the audience. By the show’s end, Comfort is the person we care for—the multitude of others seem too underdeveloped to warrant emotional investment...Moments where time and space are jostled in order to show Comfort’s more personal experiences, show lovely theatricality, and more of these would have unleashed the story’s potential." Full Review
for a previous production "When Comfort creates a cacophonous chorus of the various tics and noises of the gathered youth, he shows us a uniquely visceral side of this community. But the piece is less successful when it tries to force meaning on his journey... And the ending note offers a conclusion that feels out of place. Such a contemplative piece doesn't need to give the audience answers." Full Review
for a previous production "Using a mix of experimental elements, including Tourette-inspired choreography, he recreates the experience of his condition, mapping out the textures of his world over a week-long conference. The most interesting aspect of the show is its implicit discomfort. As Comfort presents different tics with a comedic bent, he challenges his audience to laugh, while also forcing them to wonder whether they should." Full Review
See it if You like 1 person shows that will give you insight into Tourette’s Syndrome in 75 minuets with humor and style
Don't see it if You want to see traditional theater with lavish sets ,costumes, music and a big cast
See it if you're interested in a show which succeeds at being personal and nuanced, but also relatable in ways to general audience.
Don't see it if you don't like one man shows or are not interested in learning about Tourette syndrome.
See it if you want to be immersed in the world of Tourette's w/GC as your outstanding guide. Moments of joy (his dancing) and pain (his dreams/rage).
Don't see it if you want a story arc; there's slight structure provided by a conference. Storytelling wanders wildly. Some stories are dropped too quickly.
See it if You want to understand more about Tourettes, like solo shows, appreciate hearing about 1 person’s journey.
Don't see it if Are ok w a talented actor in a choppy, somewhat mystifying show. There were touching bits & I was very moved by his dancing. GC is appealing
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