Review: Babel Rap (Speakeasy Productions)

It’s yet another hot evening in the city; one of those evenings where I can feel my face drip as I walk. Not fun. So I’m very appreciative of a theatre venue (namely the Bread and Circus) where I can enjoy an icy beer and a play at the same time. The play in question is Babel Rap written by John Lazarus and directed by Emilio Vieira.

Once again, I don’t know what to expect before walking in. Babel. I am familiar with such a term. The Tower of Babel was a biblical tower built so that man could reach heaven. God, deciding that such a feat was far too presumptuous for man, struck down his might making each worker speak a different language therefore breaking down communication. One then had to insert a small fish into his ear, a Babel Fish, in order to understand everyone else. Oh, wait, that’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, my bad.

But that was the extent of my knowledge of the story. Luckily, Babel Rap is not written for theology majors. It is written for anyone with a sense of humor that is willing to use it.

The story centers around two Tower constructors known only as Smoker (Tal Shulman) aka He Who Slacks and Worker (Jordan Mechano) aka He Who Hammers Nails. As Worker diligently hammers away and Smoker diligently…well, you know, they discuss the project at hand – the creation of such a tower. Why build it? Is it worth seeing the awe of heaven while still alive or if you were to, say, take a swan dive off the tower and die, would you not get there anyway? And if you did make it to heaven, what would you do when you reached the pearly gates? Stare at the Almighty? Well, ok, but you can’t stare forever so, what do you say to him?

All of this and more is discussed with much humor. It’s funny, and though the subject matter is, in essence, biblical, it does not come off as heavy, serious or ominous. The dialogue is mostly modern and easy to understand; the exchanges between the two are well-timed and offer quite a few laughs that were shared between my guest and fellow Mooney writer, Sam, and I.

Sam and I were thoroughly impressed with the show, even though it came off a bit short. It was exactly half an hour long. Properly sitcom length, I think. Sam commented that some of the dialogue came off as natural while at other times it felt a bit scripted. I didn’t catch onto that as much. We both nitpicked at small things (“That’s not how a smoker holds a cigarette…”) but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

So if you’re looking to escape the heat this weekend, check out Babel Rap at the Bread and Circus, enjoy a beer and catch a comedic performance of surely biblical proportions. You won’t be disappointed.

Details

– Babel Rap is playing at The Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Ave.) August 18th – 20th at 7:30 pm.
– Tickets are $15 or $12 with valid student ID
– Tickets are available at the door or online at brownpapertickets.com

Editors’ Note: After three years of operation Bread and Circus will be closing on August 28 so this show is one of your final chances to see a performance at this unique venue. It will be missed.

Photo of Tal Shulman and Jordan Mechano by Julien Cyr.

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