Writer-performer Hal Ackerman’s drama about his successful battle with prostate cancer is a deeply personal tale that’s as much cathartic therapy for the performer as it is involving for the audience. The drama of illness can often be compelling on stage, as in Julia Sweeney’s God Said, Ha!. Yet, Ackerman’s worthy but workmanlike description of the events surrounding his diagnosis of cancer, his exhaustive treatments for the disease and the unexpectedly troubled aftermath is essentially a by-the-numbers chronology of doctor visits, strained interactions with loved ones and straightforward philosophical deductions. When he’s diagnosed with the disease, Ackerman struggles to keep together his mostly sex-based relationship with his prickly girlfriend — and he also tries to console his troubled daughter (all the show’s female roles are personably played by Lisa Robins, showing remarkable versatility). In Michael Arabian’s intimate but haltingly paced production, Ackerman’s acting chops are sometimes a bit shaky, with awkward line readings and clunky comic timing (during the show’s few lighter moments). The performer’s shortcomings are somewhat compensated for by the immediacy of his own viscerally harrowing story — one that no one could do better.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: April 18. Continues through May 10, 2008
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