Nails in the Floor With My Forehead
By Eric Bogosian
24 - 26
The Burton Taylor
'intensity', when badly executed, can be excruciating. Eric Bogosian's
'Pounding Nails in the Floor With My Forehead', a torrent of bile
bubbling with edgy wit and shot through with moral outrage, could
so easily be ruined in the wrong hands. Fortunately, this production
is challenging in the very best sense of the word.
Actor theatre company's first solo show features the phenomenally
talented Marcus Dilley, who plays 11 different, equally undesirable
characters, each a particular satirical slant on the dirty underbelly
of modern American society.
is entrancing: switching between roles with kaleidoscopic ease,
instantly and absolutely convincing whether playing the malevolent
tramp, Bible-bashing cleric, life insurance salesman or self-help
guru. His style is confrontational; the savage, blacker-than-black
humour relentlessly spot-on.
characters line up like Hollywood stereotypes - serial killer, psychotic
fan, ageing hippy, therapy headcase - who use various tried-and-tested
means to vent their frustration: violence, drugs, religion, psychoanalysis,
comfortable picket-fence banality.
wider preoccupations, too - the Christian hard Right, political
apathy, mindless greed and consumerism - are well-worn satirical
targets. Like 'The Simpsons' but several shades darker, 'Pounding
is the sound of America commenting on itself. There is, nevertheless,
an underlying and affecting sincerity to many of the monologues
that raises them above simple caricature.
of all, it is the crushing sense of the characters' individual powerlessness
that cuts to the quick. As one says, "You are part of a wider
plan. You can't understand it, and you can't change it." A
damning play and a brutally effective performance.