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Fringe Festival 2008

Gal's Low Humor

Hogan Gorman finds the comedy in a dark real-life story

Hogan Gorman’s “Hot Cripple,” in the 12th annual Fringe Festival in New York, is her real-life story told with tons of self-deprecating and dark humor -- a tale that is so well remembered and told that it seems natural on the stage.

At first, Gorman’s performance and the story takes some time to coalesce and reveal what it’s really going to be about as she begins by describing herself as simply another ex-model and aspiring actress.

But before you know it, you forget all that and are transfixed -- not by learning that Gorman was for awhile, in fact, a “hot cripple,” but by the story itself and her telling of it. This is so well-done that it seems to be truly a no-brainer that this would be a compelling theater piece.

This play has comedy throughout, even as Gorman takes the audience through the seven circles of healthcare, welfare and legal system hell that she experienced after being seriously injured from being hit by a car, suffering lingering head, back, neck and knee traumas.

Gorman punches up the unlikely comedy and laughter in her story with sly asides -- calling the doctors in her case Dr. McBones and Dr. McBrain, and the judge in her suit against the driver who hit her Judge Lush when it turns out the judge herself had a DUI after hitting a police car and was also eccentric in jurisprudence to boot. Along with this, Gorman skillfully deploys a range of impressions of people in her life -- her mom, her lawyer, her boyfriend -- and those she meets along the way. All of this really adds to the abundant humanity already there.

The ending of “Hot Cripple,” in fact two separate endings, really, even slips in a little bit of profundity. The first part of this is Gorman’s conclusion that laughter is so vital to get through an experience like she’s had -- and she proves this with what she’s just delivered; and another separate observation she heard from someone she met while touring India once she recuperated -- that helped her discover her own strength.

“Hot Cripple” returns in the Fringe Festival on August 22 at 4 p.m. and August 24 at noon. 



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