TWO WALKENS (Miniature Refrigerator Operator): Finding Christopher Walken, finding us

Susanne Collins and Kevin Meehan are the TWO WALKENS. Photos by Peter Radocaj. Sculpture by Bryan Zanisnik.

Susanne Collins and Kevin Meehan are the TWO WALKENS. Photos by Peter Radocaj. Sculpture by Bryan Zanisnik.

“Christopher Walken impressions are a notorious staple for actors”, claims Kevin Meehan, one half of actor/creator duo Miniature Refrigerator Operator with his romantic and artistic partner Susanne Collins. In the company’s debut production, TWO WALKENS, Meehan and Collins use their own convincing Walken impressions in an intriguing look at how the fantasies of popular culture provide escape from our lives while simultaneously shape them.

Opening with a glimpse of quotidian couplehood, the pair’s morning routine of dueling alarm snoozes enters a realm of fantasy as they dress in pleated pants with complementary Hawaiian shirts and begin reciting snippets from Walken movies and sketches. A more ardent cinephile may pick up on and appreciate more of the many career references in the energetic 60-minute performance, but many of the actor’s performances are essential, unmistakable parts of modern cultural discourse. He’s a part of your life, even if you don’t realize it.

Meehan and Collins weave his famous scenes from Pulp Fiction, Deerhunter, and Saturday Night Live into a rough narrative focusing on loss and departure. Some of the references are less obvious: an inspired recreation of Walken’s dance in an old Fatboy Slim music video and an imaginative section taken from the children’s book The Little Prince, (is he in the recent cartoon adaptation?). Plus all the bits I didn’t recognize.

But THE TWO WALKENS is more than just a series of Walken impressions. In appropriating his scenes, Meehan and Collins have created something wholly original, sweetly whimsical and at times deeply moving.

[The Whole Shebang and various other locations] December 1-4, 2016.

 

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Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.