Written and Performed by Pat Kinevane
This week in Theater with Rose Desena
Pat Kinevane’s new one man show “Silent” takes the subject of homelessness over the creative threshold by using mime like movements mixed with beautiful language to tell this story. It is a gutsy approach to a social dilemma that confronts us on city streets each day.
Kinevane has a unique ability to dig deep into the souls of characters, and this is a perfect match for the one-man-show format. He is not just a character on stage; he is also the creator and the heart of this sensational piece of performance art. He probes into the mind of Tino, who is being held prisoner on the streets by his mental illness.
I would be doing Kinevane an injustice to say he is an actor; he does not act on the stage, at least not in this show. He simply opens himself up as a door for emotions with words that pour onto the stage like a winter rain. Moving with precision and very few props, he relies on his instincts to bring this topic to life. It is so realistic that I had to wonder if he had once been homeless. So to help me further understand this emotionally driven artist I set up an interview with him.
The first thing I notice about him is he is very unlike any actor I have ever had the opportunity to know. He is warm and very open almost to the point of exposing his vulnerable side. He is humble and soft unlike the expected persona of an actor. He loves to talk, not only about his current passion of homelessness, but also about being Irish. We chatted a lot about his life in Ireland. Of course as a boy, he went to Catholic school, something we both had in common. This always lends itself to amusing conversation.
We discussed his career of 25 years. He continuously says, “I have been blessed.” He is one of the lucky ones never having to sling plates as a waiter or swing a hammer on a scaffold. He was fortunate to start in Community Theater and move into a place where he could make a modest living in the professional acting community.
Kinevane started writing when he realized he not only had something to say but he had a way to say it that caused people to listen. His style is all encompassing, taking over the theater like an explosion.
Have no fear his delivery is well worth every bit of the 80 minutes you will be sitting there.
His first play “Forgotten” dealt with the isolation of the elderly in nursing homes, which has parallels to the homeless. We walk pass the homeless and look away, afraid to make eye contact for fear they might ask for something.
His writing, like his acting, is researched and hits very close to home. I couldn’t help but ask the mundane question of what drove him to do this story. He responded, “I was visiting a friend in New York City, which by the way was a difficult trip for me. I was uncomfortable with the crowds, dirt and noise, but more than the surroundings; I was really shocked by all the people on the street who seem to be living there.”
“I was compelled,” he continued, “to get more information. I had to know why they were just being tossed out to live on the streets. How could this happen in America? Was this voluntary or was there a reason that would drive someone to drop out? Have they been victimized in some way and was there a more human option for these lost souls?
In his research, he discovered that many of the homeless suffer from severe depression. Unable to get the help they so desperately need, they just seem to fall through the cracks into a downward spiral of alcohol and other substances that just further push his character Tino and others like him down.
Kinevane has a bold but raw approach to his writing, taking his audience on a roller coaster ride of emotion. “Silent” is an intellectual stick to your gut that exposes a cultural symbol of our time. Besides the sad topic of this play there are moments that will make you laugh, his good sense of humor shines through at just the right moment. I promise you will leave the theater happy that you experienced this amazing talent.
He speaks affectionately about working with his director Jim Culleton, who seems to be able to bring out the best in him. He is grateful to the Irish Council and to his group Fishamble for continued support of his projects.
The Odyssey Theater once again comes through with their commitment to produce original and unusual work. They take a lot of risks which has worked well for them.
Written and Performed by Pat Kinevane
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 444 -0455
Thursday- Saturday @ 8pm; Sunday @ 2pm Through Dec 16th
by Rose Desena
5 Roses – Must See!
4 Roses – Very Good!
3 Roses – Good
2 Roses – If you have nothing better to do.
1 Rose – Don’t bother.