Michael Burgos Presents: The Eulogy

Brua Hall, which contains Kline Theatre (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

Brua Hall, which contains Kline Theatre (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

By Phoebe Doscher, Staff Writer

Students, faculty, and staff were left in stitches after Michael Burgos’s show, The Eulogy, performed at Kline Theatre on Tuesday night. The comic genius starring in this one-man show used his body language and facial expressions alone to embody multiple characters giving eulogies at the funeral of their friend, Tomás.

An acclaimed actor and writer, Burgos toured across the globe with this production, primarily in Fringe Festivals which provide a welcoming environment for experimental, small-scale artistic performances.

In his performance at Gettysburg, Burgos was well-received by the audience, and even fed off of audience participation for a great deal of his jokes. One of the audience members was especially stunned when Burgos requested she slap him, but the choice resulted in fits of laughter from the audience and a crafty change in character for Burgos.

As one would expect, The Eulogy utilized the somber topic of death as the butt of many of his jokes, which were well-timed and effectively delivered. Burgos also used a mixture of scripted comedy and ad-libs to connect to the audience and tell the story.

One of the most impressive components of the production was the simplicity of the technical elements, which are especially effective for Fringe Festivals. Burgos used minimal props, such as glasses, a piece of paper, and a jug of gasoline, but relied heavily on pantomime to indicate to the audience when there were objects in the story.

Additionally, Burgos used a blank stage without scenery and with minimal lighting cues throughout the production, another useful tactic for traveling performances. These extra performance elements were not necessary at all, and Burgos’s performance was carried by his high-energy movement and engaging jokes.

As for Burgos’s characters, his versatility and incredible acting abilities were showcased for the entirety of the performance. He vacillated between a number of wildly contrasting characters, from a child denying he had eaten chocolate cake to a socially awkward, extremely anxious adult whose eulogy included a long tangent in which he told the story of the death of his pet fish.

The lack of props, sets, a cast, and other technical elements put Burgos’s performance skills to the test, but he most definitely delivered. He was able to create vivid scenes, from walking through the meat aisle of the grocery store to setting a casket on fire and roasting marshmallows over the flame. In each of these scenes the audience had to use their imagination, but with the help of Burgos’s excellent pantomime skills and production of spot-on sound effects, the scenes were executed with vividity.

All in all, members of the Gettysburg community were wildly entertained by this comedic performance, and by the end of the show, the entire Kline Theater erupted in laughter from every audience member.

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Author: Phoebe Doscher

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