One man show can't turn a trick

"House of Tricks"will be running at a.k.a. Theater Company (125 E. Congress St.)

"House of Tricks" written and performed by Victor Lodato runs until Oct. 7th. Show times are 8:00pm Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are ten dollars, and there are student discounts. For more information call: (623-7852).

Andrew Coan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

"House of Tricks" is a searing portrayal of the life that a male prostitute lives on the streets of a major American city.

Victor Lodato's one man show is gutsy, daring, and has great shock value. However, these qualities are not enough to save "House of Tricks" from being a mediocre production with a plot that never expands to the point that you can really feel a connection with Lodato's nameless street walker.

One major problem with the show is that the issues it deals with are done too abstractly. For instance, when Lodato is talking about fire and flame in the first twenty minutes of the show, there is no way that we can know he is referring to the murder of his abusive father (who died in a fire started by Lodato's character).

Once we know about the flame imagery, it comes up again and again. This is overkill, and just becomes boring after awhile.

Another problem is that for all of the shock value tied into "House of Tricks", including Lodato killing his dying lover and a brutal beating by one of his customers, it just becomes shocking for the sake of getting a rise out of the audience. Lodato might not have intended it this way, but in the end we just become sensitized to the cruel imagery. This is a shame, because if we can't relate to Lodato's imagery, we find it very hard to relate to Lodato's character.

The play is also way too long. Clocking in at just under two hours, Lodato just doesn't have enough material to keep us engrossed with what he's doing. Despite casting himself as a variety of characters in his one man show, including a transvestite and a fellow streetwalker who becomes his lover, by the end of the two hours it just becomes boring.

This is not to say that Lodato has failed. He is a very good performer, and his show has a lot of potential. He just needs to keep refining the play until it is shorter, more cohesive, and grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. This play could do that with a little more emphasis on making a true connection with the audience, and less emphasis on shocking imagery that does nothing for us.

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