Hamner Theater at the Fringe

Life Insurance
written & performed by Joel Jones

Death. Birth. Sacrifice.
Office Supplies.

…Coen Brothers meets Spalding Gray in rural Virginia…

Photos courtesy Will Kerner, click for high-res image.


Nancy Colasurdo, ‘Life Insurance’ Comes with Insight:
“Wow. Just wow.
The motorcycle accident–never actually seen in the play–was the connector that set off a ripple effect of insights and consequences for these men. It showed the humanity of the seemingly shallow salesman, the opportunist in the needy firefighter, and the double-edged sword of marital compromise for the administrator.
Overall it spoke of the prisons we create for ourselves, the small ways we can make our current lot better and how good fortune or disaster can be around the next bend. The three men never met, yet their lives were all profoundly affected by this one event.
I got all this from sitting in a tiny theater in Manhattan’s West Village. As a spectator I was entertained. But as a life coach I was stirred and shaken.
Sometimes we just can’t turn it off.”

Julia Katz, DC Theatre Scene:
“Joel Jones, however, walks the fine line of morbid comedy with delightful ease in his solo performance, Life Insurance.”

“The script has some deep wisdom and could certainly elicit laughs, but its finest point was the detailed characters…His droll comic delivery was a hit, but don’t let that undersell you on Jones’s contemplative themes.”

“For the one-man show lover, this is the piece for you…With Jones’s certain formula, and his entertaining performance, he’s sure to sell you on Life Insurance.”

Ian Buckwalter, Fringe & Purge, Washington City Paper:
“This doesn’t feel like a personal piece, as with so many one-person shows, but rather a beautifully structured and written short story, performed aloud. And one week into this year’s Fringe, it’s my favorite thing that I’ve seen so far.”

“He has a great gift for naturally including unusual details that seem like throwaway character notes, but that then become vital parts of the story later on. He is effortlessly funny, with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, yet draws the stories together to a somber and thoughtful conclusion.”

Mariya Danilenko, MD Theatre Guide:
“This short, witty and smart drama draws out laughter every twenty seconds, while delving deeply into the minds and lives of these characters, who seem to have nothing in common. The play shows how different lives can connect simply by chance and circumstance; perhaps, this could be part of the beauty and charm in life. It’s a tour de force!”

Heather Lee Rogers FringeNYC Festival Review:
” The play highlights the beauty of simple storytelling and solid acting to explore the big ideas of mortality, service and sacrifice.”

Life Insurance motorcyclist

A volunteer firefighter believes a fatal motorcycle crash on a rural Virginia road guides his own destiny…a standardized test instructor explains why he didn’t stop…a life insurance salesman has a moment of clarity in a run-down kitchen.

Three rapidly-shifting monologues weave together idiosyncratic viewpoints, stubborn passions, and unexpected revelations.

(Joel Jones, courtesy Emily Bryan)
(click images for high-res version)

In Life Insurance, Jones uses simple, subtle physical and vocal changes to portray three idiosyncratic characters. Each character casts a different light on the central, precipitating event: a fatal motorcycle crash on a rural Virginia road. The consequences are unpredictable, funny, and ultimately satisfying, as each character finds a way to move onward from a life stalled in its tracks.

“Jones builds layers with quirky little tonal changes” (Doug Nordfors, C-ville Weekly)

“honey-tongued, soulful, intellectually absorbing and hilarious” (C-ville Weekly)

“a unique blend of searing yet subtly cerebral social commentary and engaging silliness” (Grendel’s Kitchen).

He “takes the fragile stuff that makes us human and mocks it mercilessly in sharp, funny and tightly-written sketches.” (Magnet Theater)

Two benefit previews at Vivace (2244 Ivy Rd., Charlottesville).
Sunday, July 10 at 8:00 & 9:30 p.m.
Admission by donation, proceeds towards Fringe expenses.

At the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival, July 7 – 24.

Tuesday, July 12 at 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 14 at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 16 at 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 23 at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 24 at 6:15 p.m.

Venue: Fort Fringe – The Bedroom,
612 L Street NW Washington DC, DC 20001
Metro: Mt. Vernon Sq. 7th Street (Green/Yellow)
Bus: 70, 71, 79, 80, G8, P6, X2
Circulator: Convention Center / Waterfront; Georgetown / Union Station

Tickets $17, available from June 20th, online at CapitalFringe.org or by calling 866-811-4111

This production is presented as a part of the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.

At the Fringe NYC, August 12 – 28.

Venue: Manhattan Theatre Source
177 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10011
(bet. 8th St & Waverly Pl.)

SAT 8/13 @ 9:45
SUN 8/14 @ 4:00
THUR 8/18 @ 6:15
FRI 8/19 @ 9:00
WED 8/24 @ 2:00
SAT 8/27 @ NOON

Tickets: $15 in advance (more than 24 hours)/ $18 at the door
Ticket info