Recommended **** I’m not quite sure how to describe First Folio’s “Fooling Buddha”. It’s a one-man show, for sure, but it’s also a memoir filled with Buddhist truisms and a little bit of magic thrown in just for fun. The important thing – “Fooling Buddha” has a lot of laughs. I give it 4 Spotlights.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing a suit and an enigmatic smile, David Kovac starts his show by saying “Eddie Dunn (the neighborhood bully) said I was going to hell.” Kovac was the only Buddhist child in his school, making him a double outsider, a non-Christian nerd!
Before I go any further, I want to mention Angela Weber Miller’s gorgeous, vaguely Oriental, angular wood-paneled and filigreed set. In addition to being gorgeous, it was functional and user-friendly. Kovac pulled a white screen down in front of the center panel for a slide show loaded onto an old-fashioned slide carousel to project images of his home and his neighborhood in Milwaukee.
As the only Buddhist child in his school, he needed to find a way to divert Eddie’s attention, and he did that by clowning, something that made neither his teachers nor his parents happy. School was represented by a blackboard which replaced the white screen. In his family kitchen (cleverly hidden inside a decorative box), Kovac plays himself, his mother and his father at the dinner table, discussing a wide range of topics from the Buddhist perspective.
When he was first taken to the House of Illusions – which immediately became his favorite place – he learned how to use magic and sleight of hand. On one trip to the House of Illusions, which was cleverly hidden in a box covered with a gray and white screen, he donned a hat, saying that he could lose 50 IQ points by flipping up the brim! Sleight of hand, card tricks and illusions were an integral part of his entire performance. I loved the upside down card trick and the inverted glass of water.
“Fooling Buddha” runs through April 24th at First Folio Theatre at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st Street and Rt. 83, Oakbrook.
Running time is 85 minutes, no intermission.
Sundays at 3:00 pm.
Tickets range from $29-$39. Parking is free. FYI (630) 986-8067 or www.firstfolio.org.
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