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David Dean Bottrell: The Death of Me Yet

Eight tales filled with humor that explore one’s thoughts when facing mortality.

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David Dean Bottrell in a scene from his one-man show “”The Death of Me Yet” at Pangea (Photo credit: Conor Weiss)

Scotty Bennett

Scotty Bennett, Critic

Writers are as skilled at crafting stories as cabinet makers at building furniture; they just use different tools. Storytellers are artists who use a pallet 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 entertaining show The Death of Me Yet. This series of stories is about those moments that people face when the possibility of dying is more than just an idle thought. They are tales filled with humor while exploring one’s thoughts when facing mortality.

His first story, “June 2022,” is about a “bloody” adventure at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). It happened at the end of a planned four-day gig that turned into two weeks. Not a bad situation for a storyteller, except that this one was not turning out the way he wanted it to. On his last day in LA, suffering from a night of drinking, he had a run-in with the lift-gate on a car that left him with a cut on his head but still functioning semi-normally. What happened next is an example of determination in the face of adversity, complemented by a series of funny encounters with “good Samaritans.” It appears to end on a somber, philosophical note in the “designated area” of the American Airlines ticketing area at LAX, but appearances can be deceiving.

David Dean Bottrell in a scene from his one-man show “”The Death of Me Yet” at Pangea (Photo credit: Conor Weiss)

The timeline moves to “2017” in Florida on a trip to see one of his plays performed by a theater company in Sarasota. Bottrell is walking with his friends when he suddenly loses all feeling on the left side of his body, but nothing else changes. He was still engaged in a conversation and walking without any issues. His friends saw nothing wrong with him, and it disappeared just as fast as it appeared. Since the event happened so quickly and he had no after-effects, he decided that all was well. After he returned to New York, he chalked it up to “one of those odd unexplainable things like UFO’s or the Kardashians still being on TV.” The story takes us through a similar but more significant event that leads him to his doctor and a string of specialists, ending with a big unknown. He ends the story by commenting, “I began to make plans.”

The first two stories are entertaining, with funny descriptions of the events and the people encountered. Although he moves smoothly to the next story, there is a lingering feeling that there is more to be told, but before you can dwell on that feeling, the following story begins to unfold.

Bottrell is such an engaging storyteller that the listener doesn’t have time to ponder what has just happened since the next adventure is beginning. He skillfully weaves a narrative about his views on mortality that share feelings everyone encounters at various times in their lives. The timelines move forward and backward, presenting the events in which he faced his mortality. Bottrell does this with a blend of humor and pathos that captures and holds the listeners’ attention.

His story “1971” is about being taken out of his 4th grade class by his mother to go to his grandmother’s home in Illinois to attend his Uncle Ray’s funeral. It is a delightful, funny story about a nine-year-old’s encounter with the death of someone he didn’t know. It is a story filled with humanity and a keen understanding of the impact a well-turned encounter with a family in mourning can have on a young child. All these years later, the lessons learned in that time still resonate. It is a tale beautifully told with sensitivity, understanding, and just the right amount of humor.

David Dean Bottrell in a scene from his one-man show “”The Death of Me Yet” at Pangea (Photo credit: Conor Weiss)

All eight stories are engagingly woven into a pattern that illustrates the things that help us understand what it is to encounter a fear of death or even a fear of living. David Dean Bottrell is a storyteller of great skill. He effortlessly gains the attention of his listeners and gently, lovingly carries them through 80 minutes of engaging and thoughtful moments in his adventurous life.

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 two dark nights (November 20 and December 11). If you don’t know Pangea, it is an Italian restaurant with a fine cabaret room in the back; good food, good drinks, good shows.

David Dean Bottrell: The Death of Me Yet (Mondays through December 18, 2023)

Quitcher-Bitchyn Entertainment

Pangea, 178 Second Avenue, Manhattan

For tickets, call: (212) 995-0900, or visit http://www.pangeanyc.com/reservations-3/

Running time: 80 minutes without intermission

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Scotty Bennett
About Scotty Bennett (69 Articles)
Scotty Bennett is a retired businessman who has worn many hats in his life, the latest of which is theater critic. For the last twelve years he has been a theater critic and is currently the treasurer of the American Theatre Critics Association and a member of the International Association of Theatre Critics. He has been in and around the entertainment business for most of his life. He has been an actor, director, and stage hand. He has done lighting, sound design, and set building. He was a radio disk jockey and, while in college ran a television studio and he even knows how to run a 35mm arc lamp projector.

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