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Mr. Tour de Force Opens at San Miguel Playhouse

Alan Jordan

By Michael Gottlieb

It’s difficult enough for an actor to mount a one-man show, but to mount three of them back-to-back-to-back, one better than the next, is either a vainglorious conceit or a mad act of passion from a master. When it comes to Canadian actor/director Alan Jordan, it’s clearly a case of the latter. Mr. Jordan’s passion for exploring interesting, quirky, tragic, and hilarious characters has no equal.

Diary of a Madman
Thu, Fri, Sat, Nov 19, 20, 21, 7pm
Thu, Fri, Sat, Nov 26, 27, 28, 7pm
Sun, Nov 22 and 29, 3pm
San Miguel Playhouse
Independencia 82
US$15 or 200 pesos

Beginning a few years ago with a sold-out house, in Daniel Macivor’s dark and furiously funny one-man show, Jordan portrayed Victor, on a whirlwind tour of the offices, circus tents, supermarkets, Ramada Inns, sewers, dreams, and houses that compose the hallucinatory landscape of his life. Then he moved on to the astonishing I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright. Jordan played the heartbreaking and heroic Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old German transvestite who, against all odds, hid from the Nazis in plain sight as a woman. Jordan played more than 30 characters in the tour de force, which played to packed houses in his salon-style venues.

And now, Mr. Jordan has chosen to adapt Nikolai Gogol’s short story masterpiece, Diary of a Madman, for the stage. The tale centers on the life of a minor civil servant during the repressive era of Nicholas I in czarist Russia. Jordan plays Poprishchin, a low-ranking civil servant who yearns to be noticed by a beautiful woman, the daughter of a senior official, with whom he has fallen in love. The story satirizes the rampant petty officialdom of the bureaucracy in the 1830s in St Petersburg, revealing Gogol’s bitterly comic view of the government from the standpoint of a lowly citizen.

One would think the story of some poor schlub driving himself insane would be drab, but Jordan’s portrayal mines Gogol for his rich satire, irony, and bittersweet humanity. The show had a brief preview run last March and was met with rave reviews. “Remarkable” and “amazing” were often used by lucky preview audience members. San Miguel’s own Jo Sanders said, “Some of us remember how terrific he was, so versatile, when he did I Am My Own Wife. In Madman the dramatic experience is compelling and heart-rending as we watched the gradual mental disintegration of a man on the margins.”

Folks always talk about “must see” theater. Not all of it is. But Alan Jordan’s superb performance, from his original adaptation of Gogol’s classic masterpiece, fits the definition of “must see.”

Seating is limited and reserved. Audience members can simply and easily purchase their reserved seats online at as well as at the San Miguel Playhouse box office, Monday-Friday, 10 am-2pm, or at the door one hour before show time.


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