‘Wild With Happy’: A Son Deals With Himself as He Deals With the Death of His Mother

“Mothers are dead in fairy tales,” snaps Gil, the snap-happy protagonist of “Wild With Happy,” a sweet, funny and forgivably sentimental new play written by and starring Colman Domingo. Gil’s mother is dead too, but his life is no fairy tale. At 40 he’s still recovering from a breakup with a boyfriend, he’s all but given up on his career as an actor, and he’s the sourpuss spreading gloom at Disney World.

Toting around his mother’s ashes in an urn, he is being chased by his slightly demented aunt, who burns with bitterness at his lack of respect for traditional burial. Where’s that Prince Charming when you really need him?

Mr. Domingo, a magnetic, versatile actor who received a Tony nomination for “The Scottsboro Boys” and was most recently seen in the Off Broadway revival of Athol Fugard’s“Blood Knot,” established his name as a promising playwright with “A Boy and His Soul,” an engaging autobiographical solo show at the Vineyard Theater. “Wild With Happy,” which opened on Tuesday night at the Public Theater in a cartoon-bright production directed by Robert O’Hara, is essentially the story of a boy and his soul, too.

For despite his four decades, Gil spends much of the evening seething like a kid who’s just had his jumbo bag of Twizzlers snatched from his hands. Unhinged by the sudden death of his mother and the guilt he feels over neglecting her while his life tilted into chaos, he heads back to his native Philadelphia from New York hoping to wrap things up quickly, and at minimal expense — both emotional and monetary…

Read more: NY Times

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