“You can live many lifetimes in New York City due to the unsentimental way it demolishes the past.”
Doc Dougherty’s show at Pangea, Godzilla’s Prince, is an epic story of not only survival from an abusive childhood in Irish New York but of perseverance and kindness, of love that transcends the Homeric horrors one child had to endure. He had a boyhood of violence inflicted by both family and school. Sadomasochists can be found everywhere, even in the supposed sacred confines of religion.
But make no mistake; this is not an evening of the delicate rage of a man who was robbed of childhood; this is the story of a man who was found, again and again, by those who saw his circumstance and came to his rescue and in so doing rescued themselves.
As a child, young Doc latched onto the joy, fun, and clever hallelujah ideas of his grandmother, aunts, and uncles. His grandmother, a strong Irish lass, came one day to his home when he was a toddler and scooped him up to come and live with her. She took him out of the abusive household and into one of love. Doc would live with his grandmother, his aunt, and all the other characters of his family who tumbled in and out of his grandmother’s home to bring young Doc love. All excelled as creators of joy until they didn’t. Until his parents arrived when he had reached school age to take him back to their den of horrors that was his new home and also subject him every school day to another den, a good Catholic school full of women who, hiding behind their costumes of God, abused any and all.
Doc Doughtery brings his story to us on a platter of out-and-out Irish humor and magical machinations of words, words with images that will have you falling back with laughter one moment and hand to mouth in terror the next, and then caught up again in laughter.
Just as his childhood was up and down, Doc took that horror of a childhood he had and created from it a heroin addiction. An addiction that would bounce him back again and again to the life of the living only to find the addict had not disappeared but was sitting in momentary, quiet repose for the opportunity to take over again. Mirroring his early years, to take him away from the solace of what his grandmother had created and yanking him back to abuse. The incredible stories of recovery and relapse and the people along the way are phenomenal.
Doc grew up in New York, grew up with the characters of the boroughs who rewrite their stories as they go. Doc, in the end, learned to rewrite his story. A story now that embraces the past with love and forgiveness and relishes each moment of the present.
This is one of the best evenings of a one-person performance I have ever EVER!, experienced. Thank me later.
Doc is a brilliant artist who paints his story, with the help of writer Anna Theresa Cascio, with intermingled broad strokes and small, quiet strokes, culminating in polished strokes of perfection.
The Pangea is a great space, one of my favorites. Godzilla’s Prince warrants a larger venue for all to hear how one can elevate themselves with the love and help of others. Not only out of their personal ghost story of a life but to a truly brimming world where they are living wholeheartedly in a full-on embrace.
Godzilla’s Prince, written and performed by Doc Doughtery, and co-creator Anna Theresa Cascio. Directed by Michael Schiralli.
172 2nd Avenue, NY NY
Readers may also enjoy reviews of Aging is Not a Fairy Tale, Telling Tales Out of School, The Constant Wife, HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, Oratorio for Living Things, and The Life at City Center.