Writers are as skilled at crafting stories as cabinet makers at building furniture; they just use different tools. Storytellers are artists who use a palette of verbal and physical effects to paint, in sound and motion, the picture the wordsmith created in words on a page.
David Dean Bottrell is both a craftsman and an artist, as evidenced in his delightful and exquisitely entertaining show “Dear Mr. Bottrell, I Cannot Possibly Accept This.” From his Prologue about the shape and size of a certain object to his adventures in New York and Los Angeles, and with his family in Kentucky, he takes us on a journey through the twists and turns of his life, and what a life it has been.
Bottrell starts with his early days in New York looking for the acting gig that will get him started on the road to stardom. His story “The Singing Lesson,” is about a moment at the beginning of his New York City adventure when he decided that to get a Broadway gig he needed to take singing lessons. He tells us in vivid detail, and voices, of his incredible teacher and the funny events that transpired from that association while ending on a poignant note.
The skills of an actor are an essential tool in the storyteller’s kit, and the fact that Bottrell is an accomplished actor is evident in his storytelling. It also helps that he is also an excellent writer. The actor in him delivers the lines of the stories in ways that express the subtlety, bravado or nuance the writer in him intends.
In “Thick and Thin” the audience is regaled with the story of his skinny life in Los Angeles following the collapse of a long-term relationship. It is a harrowing tale told with humor and provides emotional insights, leading to a soft landing and a renewed life.
One of the greatest sources for story writers is family. They generally give an endless supply of things that make one smile or cry or groan or cringe, and sometimes all those things at once. Bottrell tells us that since he grew up in Kentucky, he would stumble upon a story just walking down the street, but his family provided the best material. He gives us an example in “Bad Sister.” Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this is a dark and sinister story. It is more of a grey and blustery one with moments of lightness leading to a surprise ending.
These are just a few of the tales of wonder and woe that Bottrell shares with his audience in “Dear Mr. Bottrell, I Cannot Possibly Accept This,” which is the title of one of the stories. It is time well spent with a masterful writer and teller of tales.
David Dean Bottrell is an actor who has appeared on a great many shows, including Modern Family, Law & Order (the new one), Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men, CSI, True Blood, NCIS, Days of Our Lives and Ugly Betty. Most notably, he played the creepy Lincoln Meyer in season three of Boston Legal. He’s a screenwriter and the author of Working Actor: Breaking in, Making a Living, and Making a Life in the Fabulous Trenches of Show Business.
He is in residence at Pangea every Monday night except for one dark show in November and one in December. If you don’t know Pangea it is an Italian restaurant with a fine cabaret room in the back; good food, good drink, good shows.
“Dear Mr. Bottrell, I Cannot Possibly Accept This” (Performed Monday nights through November 6, 2023 in rep with David Dean Bottrell: The Death of Me Yet through December 18, 2023)
Pangea, 178 Second Avenue, Manhattan
For tickets, call: (212) 995-0900, or visit http://www.pangeanyc.com/reservations-3/
Running time: 80 minutes without an intermission