REVIEW: Charlie and the Siberian Monkey Goddess

The perception of one’s reality and sense of self is stripped away.

By Miki Zwarich

A stranger claiming to be long-dead silent film star Charlie Chaplin (Leslie Caffaro) faces off against another stranger who may be a psychiatrist, or the Siberian Monkey Goddess (Lucy Haines). “Charlie” is self-assured, albeit delusional, according to the “psychiatrist,” who attempts to unmask the real person who dons the ill-fitting clothes and the little moustache. 

A playful inquiry orchestrated by the “psychiatrist” in an attempt to prove that “Charlie” is not really Charlie devolves into a heated argument about the definitions of sanity and insanity, labels, and identity. The light-hearted banter changes mid-show, when Caffaro and Haines skillfully build the rising tension to a level of uncomfort that resonates throughout the room. Charlie and the Siberian Monkey Goddess exploits the vulnerability that can arise when the perception of one’s reality and sense of self is stripped away, leaving the audience with some deep and existential takeaways. Perhaps all the world’s a stage, but perhaps there really is another Charlie Chaplin.

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