Dennis Elkins has been passing his life as an ordinary ageing, married, straight white American dad. Humdrum. But the reality is rather different and events bring the seeming certainties crashing down.
Three solo shows deftly woven together, provide unique lenses through which we join Mr Dennis on his quest to find life’s answers. A master storyteller, Dennis Elkins takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions as he navigates the speed bumps of life, including the death of his beloved son and coming out as gay at 50.
Each powerfully told story explores distinct themes and events. Sometimes dark or underpinned by sadness the trilogy is powered by the immense humour and humanity of a man with an insatiable curiosity about the world and the forces that make us.
A Trilogy: box. (comedy): Mr Dennis wants to know why our identity is so bound up in possessions. Do we throw away our loved ones with their things when they die? Childlike wonder, adult cynicism and Shakespearean gravitas combine as he tackles these questions and more.
A Trilogy: bag– (political theatre): Refusing to join the Old-White-Guys Club, Mr Dennis takes a jaunty sprint across India in search of a divine life-affirming epiphany. Clutching a guilt filled backpack he travels in trains, tuk-tuks and taxis in the hope of solving the mysteries of middle age and to scatter his son’s ashes.
A Trilogy: blood (line) (musical theatre, LGBTQ+): Mr Dennis is convinced hard work and god-fearing obedience to the rules will be rewarded with a happy home, good job, white picket fence, and 2.3 children. It’s a riotous voyage tracking down the culprits responsible for rocking his dreamboat. A solo musical replete with original songs to make you laugh, cry and celebrate casting free from “normal”.
Dennis made his Edinburgh Fringe debut in 2019 with box. which The Wee Review praised as “a touching reflection on our obsession with things”. The 2020 online@theSpaceUK season featured a shortened video version of bag– entitled anything to declare, mr. dennis. British Theatre Guide praised Dennis’ performance as “perceptive but gentle”. In 2021 online@theSpaceUK featured the shortened version of box. called are you boxed in mr. dennis?,described by British Theatre Guide as “compelling” and “an intensely personal monologue” defined by its “raw, honest presentation”.