Starving Artists' Pinkosh gives energetic star turn
By Joseph T. Rozmiarek
Advertiser Drama Critic
"Starving Artists Theatre Company", also known as Mark Pinkosh and Godfrey Hamilton, is making a short return visit to Honolulu this week with a new play, written by Hamilton and performed by Pinkosh. The two men became partners here nearly 20 years ago and now divide their time between California and the British Isles. They've also sharpened their style, with Pinkosh being part inspiration, part instrument for Hamilton's writing.
'Don't Forget Me'
Starving Artists Theatre Company
7:30 tonight and 4 p.m. tomorrow
The Arts at Marks' Garage
$20, $18 and $15
The play runs a quick 75 minutes without intermission and promises a great deal in its opening scenes. But the script grabs at a stock conclusion without fully exploring all of its possibilities.
Angus is stranded in the desert somewhere outside Los Angeles, equally frustrated by a failed fuel pump and fascinated by the young mechanic who is repairing it. He's the stock image of the Hollywood deal-maker, barking obscenities into a cell phone, denigrating his subordinates and defiling normal conversation. Yet, he is attracted by Chip, who is starry-eyed in love with the romance of making movies.
During a brisk interrogation, Chip shows an awareness of movie history that belies his years and demonstrates his willingness to submit to Angus' appetite for young flesh. Angus leaves his business card and the rest is inevitable.
But when Chip does look him up in Hollywood, Angus becomes the one pursued. Chip turns out to be an empathic listener to Angus' personal dream to find the 1940s star who was his childhood inspiration. Angus is seduced and the two become lovers. But images fade fast in Hollywood, and soon after Angus finds the aging actress, Chip leaves him to continue sleeping his way up the ladder to stardom.
The attraction in "Don't Forget Me" comes not from the hackneyed plot, but from Pinkosh's quicksilver delivery, which for the most part entices us into forgetting that all three of the characters are blatant stereotypes.
It strikes us immediately that, while Pinkosh is no longer the precocious kid he was in 1983, the earnest energy is still going strong enough to convince us that each line is an innocent, spur-of-the-moment discovery. Words tumble out in torrents and the gasps for breath break sentences into mannered, but illuminating fragments.
We discover quickly that this is a play about Angus and that something unexpected is happening to him. For all his cynicism, Angus is falling in love. His hard edges fall off and although he, of all people, should know better he transforms into a nesting newlywed. At this point, however, the love story loses direction.
Maybe we're wrong to expect this play to be a retooling of "Sunset Boulevard" meets "All About Eve". But when the script slips into being a cliche-ridden and moralizing gay love story, it loses its humor and its initial punch.