Appearing for two nearly sold out shows at the United Solo Festival, Tulis McCall proved scintillating. She provided non-stop laughter, chortles and guffaws throughout All in Good Time. Because her piece centered around the inevitability of aging, men, women, young and old found her raucous insights spot-on. Without a doubt, McCall’s one-woman show remains the finest I have seen in the solo performance category.
Though McCall initially discusses her changing relationship with the mirror, the depth of the analogy sparks the reckonings we feel. When we age, our reflection slithers into unappealing limbo. As a result, when we occasionally glance at ourselves, we undergo shock and remorse. How have our “containers” slipped beyond our clutches when our souls remain young?
It would seem that all of the difficulties that visit us as we deny we age layer up, moment by moment, a mounting pile of horror. Additionally, not all genders experience aging with the same concern or trepidation. McCall notes that men remain in their prime while women crawl over into the definition of “a certain age” and languish. Sadly, as women struggle with the recognition that they are either invisible or thought to be doddering, “given the seat on the subway,” men blithely slip between the raindrops.
However, McCall manages to make her witticisms, quips, and acute ironies hysterical. Assuredly, bitterness and anger carry no sway in her patter. Nevertheless, she expresses moments of profound realization that take our breath away. After sharing a story about her father as a young child, she concludes that this iconic man faltered. Problematically, if he faltered, did all adults make obvious errors in logic? The realization haunts her. And she reminds the audience of a truism: Never “grow up.” The Peter Pan principle she suggests reminds us to always question, always wonder, always be flexible.
As McCall delivered this assertion, one could hear a pin drop. Because she related the story with authenticity, the full meaning and impact resonated. Moreover, her pacing, timing, and delivery soared and gripped every audience member. Thus, the wisdom driven home by her life experience cannot be measured, cannot be forgotten.
Another moment of great weight flowed between the quips and genius commentary. McCall looked in the mirror and shouted down all the voices that made her regret, voices she had identified earlier in the show. For women of a certain age, smashing regrets with the sledgehammer of release produces wellbeing. Moreover, it provides one the inspiration to pull out the treasure chest of wisdom and talent. Women perfect those gifts over the years. Ironically, it’s a treasure chest that holds abilities we seldom realize we possess. Why? Most assuredly, it is because our lives consume us. Running busily, we don’t think and reflect. But such reflection occurs as we age, a key component to appreciating the good times of aging.
All in Good Time is written and performed by Tulis McCall. Superbly directed by Jon Lonoff, it ought to be picked up or toured in additional venues. Not only is it that good, one can see it a few times. The humor would remain fresh and sharp. The jokes drip truth and wisdom. The show heals and revitalizes. Most of us must confront getting older. And though we race from that acknowledgement, the conveyor belt moves us forward to our final exit. McCall’s unique perspectives bring us release. And they place us in the precious moment of living in the now and having a great time of it.
Hopefully, this show will return to another venue. I loved, loved, loved it. And if it does reopen, I plan to take all of my friends to see it. What a blast!
All in Good Time ran 15 September and 30 September at Theatre Row in New York City.