I Love Me, I Love Me Not
Studio C Artists | 6448 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. | Through Sept. 15 | Tickets $20* | lovemenot.eventbrite.com
Homophobia. Self-loathing. Inequality. Racism. Lack of self-worth. These are qualities that are present throughout the world with young gay people. And all are showcased in the engaging one-man show, I Love Me, I Love Me Not. Written and performed by the award-winning Derek Ringold, the one-act play is a mirror of our times. Especially for those of us living in the land of broken dreams: Hollywood.
Ringold’s autobiographical story is nothing new: gay kid gets bullied, comes out, moves to Los Angeles to become a star, realizes it’s next to impossible to do so, gets discouraged and drowns himself at the gay bars, does drugs, has unsafe sex, has a few health scares, and gets more and more depressed.
Luckily for Derek, he finds his redemption. Many aren’t as lucky. This is the reason for his show—to offer hope for those that have gone through an all too familiar scenario.
Told through short monologues and interspersed with contemporary choreography, Ringold shares his story openly and personally. He is a smart and engaging performer who also happens to be easy-on-the-eyes. This helps as the story isn’t entirely fresh. Everyone in West Hollywood has a coming out story—a story about how homophobia and lack of self-esteem caused them to make bad choices. And everyone thinks their story is wholly original.
While nothing here was surprising, Ringold does take ahold of his audience and doesn’t let go for the brief 45-minute running time. The dancing is a bit awkward in such a small venue and as a result, uncomfortable for the audience, but the reason for it is understood. He takes potentially off-putting situations (drug-induced sex acts) and makes them palatable rather than cringe-inducing. It’s kind of a brilliant choice by Ringold and director John Coppola.
While I Love Me, I Love Me Not is another piece that preaches to the choir, it has its charms and it’s always nice when someone “understands” what many of us have gone through—at least in part. While some beats could have stood some fleshing out (his moment of redemption and hope isn’t set up at all, making it fall a bit flat), it all goes down easy because of Ringold’s charms.
*A portion of the ticket proceeds go to benefit The Trevor Project. —Kevin P. Taft
Check out the nice write-up our show received in Frontiers Magazine this week – Two more performances left – Thursdays @ 8PM!