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Review: Examining anger, empathy in 'All The Rage'

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm •  Published: January 30, 2013

Any problems with awkward scene transitions or the aseptic set are ultimately overcome by fresh humor and steady pacing under the direction of Seth Barrish, who directed Moran's previous play "The Tricky Part," another autobiographical solo piece about his experience as a young victim of sexual abuse and his eventual path to forgiveness. (Barrish's successes in directing solo plays also includes Mike Birbiglia's acclaimed comedies "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" and "Sleepwalk With Me.")

"Rage" is something of a sequel to Moran's first play, which garnered a 2004 Obie Award, although he assures the audience at the outset, "We're not going down that path tonight," referring to the ordeal of being molested from ages 12 to 15 by a camp counselor.

It's true, Moran mostly stays away from the subject of his abuse, but does discuss how writing and performing "The Tricky Part" served as a personal catharsis. He also explores similar subjects, like dealing with pain, reconciling anger and allowing empathy.

While dancing and singing onstage in a Broadway musical, Martin has an epiphany and resolves to make a difference, however small. The resolution leads him on comical crusade in an unfamiliar world, but after initial failure, he volunteers as a translator for French-speaking African refugees seeking asylum in the U.S.

It is in this capacity that he meets Siba, a sensitive, eloquent torture survivor who was separated from his family by war. Martin is tasked with translating the details of Siba's torture to a psychiatrist in a sobering session that ends when the refugee breaks down in tears after talking about his desire to reunite with his wife and son, who are in hiding.

Doing his best to console him, the translator whisks the crying man out of the office, first to the men's room and eventually down to the sidewalk, but Siba's tears persist.

"If I don't stop crying," the man says, "I will go blind."

"Tears are OK, I think," Martin tells him, wishing he knew what to say. "But what do I know?"