Guy Dartnell: Travels with my Virginity
[Tim DuRoche]
I have to admit, I was a little disarmed when Dartnell came out under the lights of the bare stage and uttered with an almost bashful Winnie-the-Pooh-like disposition: “Hello Portland.” Knowing he’d worked with Meredith Monk and the Improbable Company, I was expecting something a tad more transgressive or perhaps in-your-face angular. . .instead I met a truly likeable storyteller. Nothing mind-blowing–just good old coming-of-age antics as he struggled to buy “le barbeque” and git busy in the French countryside, ca. 1978.
I’m not sure if anyone saw the punchline coming. It was a bit of shaggy Jim story, foreshadowed by Dartnell’s Baedecker of music by The Doors and Morrison’s so-called poetry. But I had a good hunch this might all wind up at Pere Lachaise–and lo we find him sobbing on the ground at the site of permanent Parisian Jim Morrison’s grave, crying: “I’m never going to get shagged. . .help me Jim!”
I appreciated the Sorrows of Young Werther meets-Portnoy’s Complaint quest for meaning (and release) where “everything is fuelled by fantasy and ideals,” and even more respected the unabashed humanism of his being able to bring us back to the poignant hand-sweating gawkiness of that do-you-want-to-touch-me-yah, wishful thinking. Instead of feeling his pain (like so much solo performance), we got to remember the awkward sexually-charged energy and frustration of coming of age. And laugh about it too.
–Tim DuRoche