POST: The Bullpen. 1 man. 18 characters. 65 min. No intermission. What?
I was not very interested in seeing a one man show because, I don't know, I enjoy watching performers react and interact with each other on stage. It adds an element of genuineness that makes a show more compelling. I thought that a show lacking that component would just be kind of strange to watch. Watching a man talking to himself for over an hour was a pretty weird idea to me.
I entered the theater not expecting much and I walked out in absolute amazement. I was in disbelief as I tried to wrap my head around the performance I saw. One man. 18 characters. 65 minutes with no intermission. What?
While watching The Bullpen I had questions that arose in my mind that I would have loved to ask the only actor in the show, Joe Assadourian.
1. What happened to the other characters in the show?
The protagonist's fate was revealed by the court judge but what about all the other characters in the jail cell?
2. What was the evidence presented against Joe, the protagonist?
I know that the shows purpose was not for the audience to play jury but I am curious to know how Joe was convicted. Joe also claims that he is innocent numerous times throughout the show which made the case even more intriguing to me.
3. Why was this show a one man show?
Sure, it worked well as a one man show but why not have other actors playing either the judge or the jury?
4. Why no intermission?
I'm sure his vocal chords are asking the same question.
5. Has he ever mixed up characters while performing?
Remembering all the cues for each character seems impossible. I'm pretty sure he must have went into the wrong character at least once.
6. What were the opinions of the people in the prison of the show?
To my understanding, this show was first presented to people in prison. Did their opinions inspire Joe and the director to perform their show in front of NYC audiences?
7. Did he have any acting experience prior to this show?
Was his first time acting really in a theater program in prison?
8. Does he wear the same clothes for every performance?
The whole show was performed in casual attire (sweater, jeans, and sneakers), does he wear the same sweater, jeans, and sneakers for every show?
9. Why was there such a minimalist approach to the presentation of the show?
One actor, not much of a set, no props....
10. How was the jail cell guard not able to tell that they were smoking marijuana in the jail cell?
A joint was passed around a bunch of times and the guard did not say a single thing about it.
I guess the guard did not really care. Or what?
11. Is that how a jail cell is, really?
The characters in the jail cell were offering solutions to help Joe in his situation. A sort of camaraderie was formed among those in the cell.
12. When did all of this take place?
I'm curious to know when this happened being that a time frame was never established.
13. What inspired him to do this?
After doing some research, this show began in a correctional facility theater workshop, a very unusual place for the birth of such an entertaining show. Did Joe Assadourian and the director just think it would be a cool idea to portray the process of a man awaiting his fate in a jail cell?
14. Are the characters representations of real people?
While I believe that many of the 18 characters were over-the-top,stereotypical representations of people who one would expect to be in a jail cell, the stories of other characters, including the protagonist, seemed authentic.
15. Was the protagonist’s experience in the jail cell similar to Joe’s experience while he awaited his trial?
Might be a little personal but I feel like this is a question worth asking. He did name the protagonist after himself, after all.