SALT LAKE CITY — The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival has an amazing artist in this show, Man Cave, “a One-Man Sci-fi Climate Change Tragicomedy.” Timothy Mooney Repertory Theatre produced the show; Tim Mooney wrote and performed this and seven other one-man shows, and he is usually travelling around to perform them for educational and entertainment purposes. This specific show fit the pandemic-style theater so well, and it was fun to watch from home.
Mooney’s character sets up the premise of this show talking out to the universe, hoping someone from earth or elsewhere is still around and listening. The character discusses the issues that brought him to this point, and as I got to know his character, I felt for his losses and really enjoyed his reckless sense of humor.
Mooney’s blocking was excellent, even though there wasn’t much to do while sitting in a chair, talking at a screen. His emphasis with arm movements, the couple times he stood up, and how he would move back and forth or in a circular motion while sitting were all great ways to make the show engaging. The simple lighting design was well-done, as he had great front lighting and even a light behind him to offset the black background. It was a smart choice to have the microphone be seen. How the character talked toward the microphone, looking in that front corner of the screen as if that were the camera area, was also a smart choice. It was more comfortable to feel more like a fly on the wall than the person being directly addressed, and it helped me see the premise of the character being entirely alone, reaching out to the abyss of space.
The content was hilarious. The references to various sci-fi culture shows was fun, and I laughed every time Mooney’s character brought up Klingons (he really likes Klingons). It was funny to see him change attitudes when the character thought people listening may see him differently, like when he acted authoritative versus weak and full of flaws. I loved the detailed explanations of how earth went downhill. I won’t share spoilers, so I will just say that it was thought-provoking about what I’m choosing now and what I could choose instead to prevent such an end.
I highly recommend this show for all sci-fi lovers, though it is fun for everyone. The version of the show I saw is a more adult version, and he has this show written down in two versions, with a more family-friendly version for his younger audiences, which is available on his website.