“David Dean Bottrell: The Death of Me Yet” is at once a beautiful and gut-punchingly funny new work from an artist who appears to thrive in telling the truth – masterfully. For 90 minutes, Mr. Bottrell demonstrates a solo performance storytelling style (I’m told that fans actually flew in from NYC to catch the opening performance of this limited run) that consistently surprises with its simplicity and graceful authenticity. Just when you think you get how far he’s going to go, he goes deeper; but always with a wit and grace that invites us to recall our own humanity as opposed to shocking or offending to make a point.
“David Dean Bottrell: The Death of Me Yet” explores mortality in a way this writer has not seen before. Jumping from one story to another, then following up with each story (much like a really good documentary), Mr. Bottrell reveals several worlds where the idea of our busy worlds being interrupted so easily by the faster than we think movements of Father Time and his even faster cousin, Death is displayed in such a way that we can feel it; without mythology to help us swallow the pill. He makes us laugh at what we already know; none of us is getting out of here alive and it could happen on the way out of the theater. A sad premise indeed; sad unless you recognize what we already know; It happens every day and recognizing that fact and the fact that we are alive right now, should shift our priorities more towards the joy of the moment as opposed to the fear. With this technique, the play has us laughing and laughing hard.
The set is simple: A star-like shape in the middle of the stage with Mr. Bottrell holding court; shifting with the smallest, most deliberate movements away from center when he seeks to take us elsewhere but always coming back to center. The lights are focused and full, that is until he snaps his fingers and tells us, and the lighting operator, that he is ready to shift the story.
David’s character work is mysterious. Though he didn’t do many characters with this performance, the ones he does do appear to consume his form (shapeshift) and his heart. He appears authentically affected by his own words, and he should be. It’s powerful stuff.
Run don’t walk to see this limited run at the Matrix Theatre, hosted once again by the excellent Rogue Machine Theatre Company.
WHAT: “David Dean Bottrell: The Death of Me Yet” Written and performed by David Dean Bottrell, Produced by John Perrin Flynn, A Rogue Machine Production. Recommended for ages 16+
WHERE: Rogue Machine (in the Matrix Theatre) 7657 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046 (street parking)
WHEN: 8pm Wednesday – Saturday; 3pm Sunday Closing: January 14, 2024
HOW MUCH: Previews $45, Tickets are $45 (Seniors $35; Students $25)
HOW: For reservations call 855-585-5185 or https://www.roguemachinetheatre.org/