The Happiest Medium Review by guest contributor Rebecca Bernard
What would you be if you truly were your best self on all fronts of life: in work, play, mind and body? Why, you would be “better than you!” says Steve Seabrook of the show Steve Seabrook: Better Than You, a show conceived and directed by Kurt Bodden. Using the format of a motivational speaker, Bodden takes us through the highlights of a weekend crash course workshop aimed for greatness. We as audience members become his subjects as self-help lectures and demonstrations unfold. In the spirit of Tony Robbins, Seabrook spouts rhetoric and catchy affirmations that all conveniently tie back to merchandise and 5 disk sets that can be purchased before leaving the theatre.
Bodden is a charismatic performer, grabbing his audience from the moment he steps onstage and first addresses us as “people he would not want to be at 7pm on a Friday night.” This he insists will all change towards the end of the workshop as we undergo a revolutionary transformation. Also a gifted improvisor, Bodden often includes the audience’s energy (or lack of energy) in his performance, delivering some of the wittiest lines within these moments.
Though the speaker’s material is solid, the true magic of this piece lies in the contrast Bodden creates by showing Seabrook both on and off the stage. A relationship is forged between he and an offstage lighting designer that allows us to see a different and more vulnerable side of Seabrook. It soon becomes clear that Seabrook is not always the better version of himself he describes onstage, a point driven home when the lighting designer offhandedly compares him to the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz.
It would have been nice to see Bodden take this idea one step further by allowing us to not only see Steve Seabrook unravel backstage, but onstage as well. Instead we are left with more of the same, having been granted a peek under the wizard’s curtain, to then continue with the illusion that has just been broken. The audience sees the “light” of who Steve really is, but we are left wondering, is he aware of his own?
~~~Steve Seabrook: Better Than You
Writer: Kurt Bodden
Director: Mark Kenward
The master motivator takes the audience to a safe, nurturing place of empowerment to examine why they’re vaguely disappointing. Survivors of actual personal-growth seminars call it “hilarious” and say it “nails the tone perfectly,” including “that little creepy edge.”
1h 0m National San Francisco, California
Solo Show Comedy
Staycation: Spa Getaway (Mind & Body) In Someone Else’s Shoes
VENUE #04: JIMMY’S NO. 43
Fri 17 @ 4 Sat 18 @ 7 Sun 19 @ 1:45 Thu 23 @ 9 Sat 25 @ 3:30 Sun 26 @ 3:30