While R. Ernie Silva’s older brothers were doing hard drugs, he hid out in his room and watched Masterpiece Theatre. Silva wasn’t a nerd; he break-danced, liked weed, and grew dreadlocks. But he lived in Bushwick, and to cops, bosses and his mom, being a young, black male in Bushwick meant you were and would always be just like everyone else. Railroaded into a life headed for rehab or death, Silva grabbed a boxcar heading west to go on an American walkabout. Silva is a charismatic talent with slender build and wide grin. The story of his travels, co-written with James Gabriel and directed by Mary Joan Negro, taps into his charm and energy, sending him up and around a set of simple black boxes, strumming his guitar, Savannah, and impersonating the noteworthy, from Richard Pryor and Jimi Hendrix to August Wilson. The travails of young artists and their search for self-definition are a familiar solo show trope, but even the heightened moments — the death of a brother, an auspicious visit from an eagle — feel earned, not manufactured. I expect we’ll see a lot more of Silva, and this very solid monologue is a good place to get acquainted.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: June 26. Continues through Sept. 5, 2009
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