The Taylor Negron–Lily Haydn performance two nights ago at the Egyptian Arena Theatre was so good and eloquent and deeply felt that I needed time to let it sink in before writing about it. Negron is a character actor with a certain flamboyancy (of all his films, my favorite is Gun Shy), but I never detected the touch-of-the-poet side. Because movie and TV roles aren’t about revealing unsuspected depths. Catch an actor in a good play or in a reading of this kind and you suddenly feel that you finally know them.
Taylor Negron (second from right) and admirers — Sunday, 4.1.07, 9:40 pm
Negron has a relaxed and assured writing style and man, can he read! He makes it all feel alive and rapturous and full of pizazz. How many one-person shows have I seen and genuinely enjoyed in my life? Not many — the truth is that I’m lazy and over-worked and always making excuses — but I know it when a live performance is working and paying off.
My first thought after Negron’s show had been running for 20 minutes or so was that it’s good enough — easily good enough — to be either a one-man deal in Los Angeles or New York, or some kind of touring enterprise. It’s way too good to be performed just once and then put away…please.
The show was basically Negron reading five (or was it six?) perfectly sculpted story-poems about certain poignant (or haunting or disturbing or whatever) episodes in his life, and Haydn — a sexy, dark-haired half-pint who wears hot outfits and plays a mean and lusty violin — plus a cellist named Ben Hong and pianist Adam MacDougall providing musical accompaniment — before, between and after the various passages and generally tying it all together.
I felt genuinely aroused and grateful after it was over. I decided I need more theatrical-type fixes in my life. The Negron-Haydn show reminded me that living in this town can be about much, much more than watching cinematic fart-bombs like Are We Done Yet?, and thank God for that.