Wednesday, January 12, 2011

THEATER: Kim Noble Will Die

[Part of the COIL Festival.]

Whether or not it's true that Kim Noble is suicidal, has been in and out of psychiatric care, and was almost banned from entering the US with his one-man show Kim Noble Will Die because of this, the truth is, you'll believe his hard-to-draw-the-line shtick. He's a more dangerous Tom Green, so be thankful that the majority of his performances are shown as documentary footage while Mr. Noble dourly stands before the audience, wearing only an unbuttoned jacket and a ripped Spider-Man costume that's bunched up around his crotch. After all, he's capable of just about anything . . . which is what makes watching him so thrilling.

Well, so long as you're not in his sights, that is. He spends the show inducing the audience to text his ex-girlfriend ("We never did enough anal i still think about you a lot"), handing out sealed batches of his sperm to women (we'll see footage of him producing said spunk later, to a disturbing rendition of "Sweet Child O' Mine"), and kicking people out. Meanwhile, video clips provide a medley of his stunts, many of which involve tampering with products (talking greeting cards, celebrity biographies, self-help books, DVDs) and replacing them with his own, ostensibly with the goal of saving us valuable time, as with his sixteen-second version of March of the Penguins. ("Now do something worthwhile with the next 84 minutes," he advises.) His deadpan elevates these pranks, allowing them to catch us off guard with running jokes (his animated, three-second version of The Shawshank Redemption includes a tribute to March of the Penguins) or with the revelations that not all the stunts have happy endings, at least as far as we know. (There's some footage of a woman cutting herself; at the end, Noble informs us that she passed away last year.)

More surprising than the shock humor (and watching a naked woman squat and piss on his "corpse" is pretty shocking) however, is how ultimately sympathetic Noble is. He doesn't hide his resentment of celebrities like Catherine Tate or Bono, his regrets over lost relationships, and his self-loathing, all of which fits his childish lashing out. (His video comedy, incidentally, would not feel out of place on, say, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) To freely reveal that, actually or performatively, takes guts -- and after seeing footage of him shoving a camera up his arsehole (in order to boost his Google rank with "the gays"), we know he's got those. And ultimately, crude or not, he's right: we're all going to die, so why waste time not really living?

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