To get the most out of Chris Davis’ One Man Apocalypse Now, you have to have seen the movie. The finer nuances of this piece would be lost on anybody who hasn’t but even to an outsider, it’s clear that Davis knows how to structure and temper a parody. The first moments are played out move-by-move to the Martin Sheen voice-over of the original but then the tape stops and Davis begins his own whacky journey.
His mission: to stage a one-man version of Apocalypse Now on the fringe. It’s very silly and rooted in fandom but Philadelphia-based playwright Davis does a great job parodying each of the actors in their roles to suit his purposes. It also serves as a timely reminder of the stunning cast including Sheen, Laurence Fishburne and Harrison Ford in an early role.
Each actor Davis recreates arrives with minor biographical details incorporated into the script and all the ticks and mannerisms that make the performances so memorable. Davis’ knack for parody sees him shimmy in an unsettling recreation of the Playboy bunny scene before launching into a mango-munching Marlon Brando, that somehow sums up both the absurdity of this comedy and the genius of the movie.