Dick Done Broke
DICK DONE BROKE
Bushwick Starr/ Ontological
Written and Performed
Dan Safer (2012)
Anne DeMare (1999)
Original Score by
Daniel Bernard Roumain (dbr)
Lighting Design by
Jay Ryan (2012)
Chris Thomas (1999)
“D.J. Mendel's feverish performance smacks of the Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski personas, steeped in a Southern moonshine marinade.” - NY Times
“Brave and emotionally courageous” - Time Out NY
“D.J. Mendel is kind of a downtown legend, an iconic actor and reliable presence in Richard Foreman’s work and countless other productions, he brings a kind of sinister, threatening, serpentine but thoughtful and complicated masculinity to all of his roles.” - Culturebot
“D.J. Mendel debuted this one-man show at Richard Foreman's Ontological Theater in 1999, when its boozy narrative of a blue-collar worker's actual and symbolic impotence reflected the city's transformation during the Giuliani regime. Its themes of working-class dispossession and disorientation are only more pertinent a decade later, at a cultural moment marked by occupations, general strikes, collapsing national economies and widening income disparity.
The hypnotic set design underlines all these factors, plus the alcoholism: for 60 minutes Mendel lies, crawls, wriggles and teeters on a platform swinging a few feet above a stage.This abstracted spinning room evokes Beckett, but Mendel's dialogue generally cuts existentialism with hard-boiled drunk banter and a relatively coherent story.
Don, often called "Donny" by an internalized interlocutor who's alternately his father, wife, child or younger self, works the night shift at a steel mill and almost never sees his family. Donny airs his grievances while shifting from funny to angry to sad and back again, as drunks do so well. His body is restless too. He repeatedly tries to get up only to stumble and fall, pees over the platform's edge, uses his tie as a pillow, rifles through his pockets for a match or lighter and finds a whiskey bottle and shot glass instead.
Mendel offers a relatable and readily universalized account of powerlessness given texture by foggy fragments of a life literally being pissed away before our eyes. “ - L Magazine