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Self-Service Warehouse-Next Door

Remaining Performances: July 12th at 7 pm, July 18th at 9:30 pm, July 22nd at 8 pm, and July 25th at 7 pm

They say: “Like sugar in Carolina iced tea, Sheldon sprinkles a lot of comedy into his tale of a precious rural Southern boy, ‘sissified but dignified’ who transforms to an urban man looking for love and settling for sex and sour candy.”

Caroline’s take: A show about coming to terms with one’s sexuality while growing up in the South might be expected to play up the tragedy of being cast aside by friends and relations.  But Sheldon Scott does the opposite in his one-man-show. It’s actually less of a show, and more a set of anecdotes relating to Scott’s current life as a performer and the manager of Marvin on U Street.  With plenty of humor and  good dose of self-reflection, he brings the audience back home with him, to rural South Carolina, where everything begins.

Scott starts with the story of meeting his biological father for the first time before his great-grandmother’s funeral in 1989, the day Hurricane Hugo pounded the South Carolina coast.  It begins with a look of recognition, from top to bottom, as a thirteen-year-old Scott tries to figure out his connection to this man.  But how could he be related to a man who dressed so horribly, in a polyester, airplane-collared shirt, with a ring around the collar?  At the same time, his father turns to his mother and announces, “You know, he doesn’t look like a faggot.”  It’s this dichotomy, of his struggle to fit in while knowing that he doesn’t always need to, that motivates him throughout his life.

He makes the connection through several other childhood stories, as when he struggles to find a talent among a family of “Wayans and Jacksons.”  It turns out that his greatest skill is public urination, which entertains the neighbors, but it’s the ingenuity he demonstrates, in conjunction with the humor, that makes him entertaining.  Like the fact that he used to escape punishment by sliding through a hole in the bathroom of the family’s mobile home.  Or how, when a flower he planted in kindergarten didn’t bloom, he used the pot as a desk organizer.  The randomness of these ideas and how they dawn on him make the situation even better.

The second part of his story starts in 2000, as Scott drives up Interstate 95 to make a new life in Washington.  His motivation is sex: all he wants is more of it.  Of course, his dream of falling in love at the first gay bar he goes to, adopting little brown children from Somalia or Southeast, and joining the ANC to turn down liquor licenses doesn’t come easy—-and here’s where the show gets a little awkward.  The lure of anonymity, especially on the Internet, becomes the focus, and here that aforementioned ingenuity is missing.  Scott relates this anonymity to his experiences at health clinics (which is where all the hot guys are, apparently), but soon, the motif involves somber consequences, and the tonal change is somewhat jarring.  As the story becomes less about Scott and more about the groups he belongs to, the burden of self reflection transfers to the audience as the lights go down.

See it if: You want to laugh at childhood anecdotes, enjoy jokes about mobile homes and the people who live in them, or want to know about life south of Richmond.

Skip it if: You’d rather not know the details about nameless hookups or don’t want to know what it’ really like inside the Whitman-Walker clinic.