by Monica Trausch · August 12, 2014
In No Static At All, Alex Knox’s solo show, a simple story of friendship and music takes on greater, holy meaning. Written and performed by Knox, directed by Becca Wolf, and produced by theater company Tilted Field, this fun, funny, endearing solo show takes it’s audience on a journey through Knox’s youth, graduate school at Yale, and into the present. The show is structured around both Alex’s friendship with a boy named Joshua, and his love of vintage vinyl.
Alex was a nerdy drama kid who found himself in music—particularly the likes of Jeff Buckley and Elliot Smith. When he met Joshua, the coolest of the cool kids, he felt he had found a brother. But Joshua loved the music of Steely Dan, something Alex could not get behind. It isn’t until years later, while in graduate school at the Yale School of Drama, that Alex sees the parallels in the story of the band Steely Dan to his friendship with Joshua. Joshua abandoned his Orange County, California upbringing and moved to Israel to study Judaism. Alex and Joshua, once best friends and so much alike, are suddenly living opposite lives—Alex doing experimental theater at Yale, Joshua finding God in the Holy Land. And just as suddenly, Alex understands what Steely Dan’s weird lyrics and technically masterful guitar riffs are really about—brotherhood, a searching, a finding, an understanding.
Michael Locher’s set design includes a real record player that Alex gets to mess around with on stage. It’s a little thing, but it adds to the authenticity of the piece. That’s the best word to describe this solo show: authentic. Alex Knox performs with gravitas and doesn’t take himself too seriously as, in the most memorable moment of the show, he takes off his shirt and air-guitars to a Steely Dan hit. The minimal set made sense for a FringeNYC show, and created the intimate feeling that the audience was simply hanging out with Alex in his basement.
No Static At All won Best Solo Show at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe, and it is easy to see why. A solid solo show with gentle surprises and a nuanced, easy performance by Knox make this a wonderful hour at the theater. As most of the production team are Yale School of Drama Alum, the opening night audience was made up of a lot of current Yale drama students. It was a lively, generous audience who were happy to be there, supportive of their community. The excitement was contagious and I laughed loudly throughout this fun show. I highly recommend checking this show out. As a full house and past awards dictate, this show, it’s team, and Tilted Field theater company, are going somewhere.