Tree House Lounge

Remaining performances (tickets available here)

Saturday, July 18 at 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 19 at 9:35 p.m.
Saturday, July 25 at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 26 at 1:45 p.m.

They say: A homeless man’s House of Cards, ROGER (not his real name) exposes a dangerously hilarious conspiracy dating back to Columbus showing the true connection between the NSA, Hubble Telescope and the real reason Dan Snyder won’t change the Redskins’s name.

Rachel’s take: Matthew Vaky is sitting on a crate on the tiny stage at Tree House Lounge when the audience comes in. The space is the right width to be the alley Vaky’s character Roger purports to inhabit, and Roger’s restless gaze, frenzied tapping on his leg, and distressed suit make him look very much like someone you would not like to share an alley with. In real life, anyway.

But this is entertainment, and Roger’s loopy, manic conspiracy theories and his visceral physical relationship with his bottle of booze take a certain kind of insanity and mine it for fun. Even if you don’t take notes, as Roger exhorts you to, there is a helpfully highlighted chart to help you make sense of all the connections Roger finds in the sad history of America, from Christopher Columbus‘s real bosses to last Sunday’s edition of the Washington Post, Metro section.

It’s nice to believe, for an hour or so, that there is a shadowy cabal going around ruining things for the rest of us, and Vaky makes a lively guide, impressively committed to the chaos in Roger’s brain and his efforts to impose order on the world. Vaky, also the playwright, sneaks some sly jokes into the monologue at Roger’s expense, and director Gillian Drake has him moving into the audience a few times, singing or begging to be believed. This is ultimately a character sketch, but bravo to Vaky and Drake for making Roger sympathetic and funny, a crazy person you’d want to hang out with.

See it if: You suspect a shadowy cabal has ruined your life, too.

Skip it if: One Oliver Stone is enough, thank you.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Vaky