Broadway

Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool Makes Us Laugh At Our Demise

Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool Makes Us Laugh At Our Demise

I first encountered Mike Birbiglia when he brought The New One to Broadway. I am not normally someone who is a fan of comedy shows like Seinfeld; however I did like Robin Williams, Lilly Tomlin because they were great comedic storytellers, at the top of their game. To this exemplary list I must add Mike Birbiglia.

Photo credit Emilio Madrid

Birbiglia fills the Vivian Beaumont Theater with laughter, as he talks about his mortality. His own father died at 56 of a heart attack. When he is given a breath test, at 44 — which he fails to the point of the doctor wanting a second opinion, he worries he will leave his daughter at 19. Right now, his days and nights are spent reading to this precious love of his life. His brother thinks he should make a will, he thinks pizza is the gift of life and going to the gym is an unnecessary evil.

Photo credit Emilio Madrid

Birbiglia, a survivor of bladder cancer, makes death knocking on one’s door hysterical. In this show he reveals he has Type II diabetes. When his father was diagnosed with this, he still wanted more Chicken Parmesan at Christmas.

Photo credit Emilio Madrid

When Birbiglia asks the audience for a moment of silence over a man who has died, the audience cannot stop laughing; the more he tries to get them to pay respect, the more individuals drive the rest of the group into wildly hilarious giggles. It was self-sabotage at its best and a group’s mental collectiveness on display.

Photo credit Emilio Madrid

The Old Man & the Pool is deftly directed by Seth Barrish (The New One), with contributions by Peabody Award-winning Story Consultant Ira Glass (This American Life)Tony Award-winning Scenic Designer Beowulf Boritt (Act One, POTUS), four-time Tony Award Nominated Costume Designer Toni-Leslie James (Paradise Square, The Piano Lesson), Lighting Designer Aaron Copp (The New One, Falling Out of Time), Tony Award-winning Sound Designer Kai Harada (The Band’s Visit, Kimberly Akimbo), and Projection Designer Hana S. Kim (The Visitor, Eve’s Song), finishing off the team.

Photo credit Emilio Madrid

In the end, his love for his daughter changes his mind set and ours, as we realized that for 85 minutes we forgot about politics, elections and the burdens of life. Lights out!

Photo credit Emilio Madrid

Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man & the Pool : Vivian Beaumont Theater at the Lincoln Center Theater, 150 W 65th St. until January 15th, 2023

Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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