Male vulnerability relentlessly on display in this unique solo-mask performance
By Lee Delong and Ralf Wetzel
Directed by Lee Delong
With Ralf Wetzel
Masks created by Stephen John Cooper
A surrealist display of the harsh reality of gender politics, Absolutely Reliable! is transfixing and provocative.
Absolutely Reliable! Is a solo mask performance that confronts toxic masculinity head-on in a delightfully comic monologue that follows George through an examination of his male vulnerability and suppressed aggression. In a timely response to the #metoo movement, George negotiates the tangled web of his increasingly darker side. A surrealistic, rollicking, slightly creepy look into his world sheds tender light on just how bad alpha-male culture can get.
George is a white, middle aged, middle class, middle manager desperate for female attention. Just as he appears to be getting closer to the object of his desire, he swirls in a maelstrom of denial, anger, and insecurity. George oscillates between love and loss, death and birth, and never ever finds his deeper self.
Director and co-writer Lee Delong has transformed George’s, anxieties and traumas into a raw investigation of contemporary gender norms using dark comedy. George and co-author Ralf Wetzel wears a mask that fits him like a glove. It has a transfixing power and sometimes one forgets that it’s a mask, so much so that Wetzel plays two distinct characters-male and female-with only one mask. Negotiating a labyrinth of increasingly comic situations, George is peeled away like an onion to reveal a surprising truth.