I went to the Devlin Monologues not really knowing what to expect. I knew that my improv teacher's one-man show was going to be autobiographical so I went wanting to learn a little more about my instructor, a theatrical equivalent of facebook stalking. Not only did I get my voyeuristic insight into Devlin Bishop's childhood, I got a funny, heartfelt, emotional tribute to his parents. I'm not doing it justice here, so let me first say this:
I was blown away.
Devlin left too seats in the front row symbolically empty, reserved for his military dad and east-German mother, both dearly departed. He jokingly said that if they were sitting there they would be embarrassed by the stories he had to tell. Indeed many of the tales--garbage picking in the middle of the night, inadvertently parking a car in a bird sanctuary, a Christmas corsage re-purposed from a stripper costume--would have been enough to make a less reserved couple blush. And yet by the end I felt as if I knew this family, felt the love they had for each other. I could picture his mother knitting him barbie clothes for a doll he didn't dare ask for, I saw the last moments he had with his dad, when his father said I love you for the first and last time. Devlin teared up at the end, as did most of his audience.
I can't imagine his parents being anything but proud at the pure courage that Devlin displayed, opening up his soul and sharing it with us. It was beautiful.
So five very bright stars, supernovas even, and two thumbs way up. Not that you guys can see it. One night only. Though I'm told that he does another one every year.
Since I met Devlin in November, I've come to know him as a talented improviser and a genuinely sweet man. Though I don't know him well, he told me that it meant a lot to him that I wanted to be at his show, and I could tell that he meant it. I admire the way he keeps his emotions close to the surface, laughs easily, cries unashamedly, loves freely. Now that I've seen his one-man show, I admire him all the more.