O’KEEFE’S TAKE ON WALT WHITMAN’S ‘SONG OF MYSELF’
There have been plays about poets, and poetry readings that are just as much performances, but John O’Keefe’s one-man show of Whitman’s 1855 edition of “Song of Myself” is something else again, a recitation of that epic of American life, both lyric and epic, panoramic and internal, taken to the audience in the way the poet seemed to wish his screed taken to heart by his fellow countrymen.
O’Keefe, cofounder of Berkeley’s Blake St. Hawkeyes, playwright, opera librettist, works the room as himself combined with the professedly genial Walt, after speaking with élan about the effect the poem has had on him. A bravura chamber performance, a bright way of making the audience—and each spectator—aware of being the silent partner in the unfolding of a living exhortation to be human beings. At the Marsh at 1062 Valencia St, in San Francisco through this weekend. For more information, call (415) 641-0235 or visit www.themarsh.org.