In the past few years, there’s been a push to declutter our lives. This idea suggests that scaling down our possessions can provide relief from anxiety as well as a way to self-exam about what is important to us and our future selves. Tom Lenk’s one-man show basically tosses that premise aside, and uses humour and crafting to argue that the past is superior to the future, and everything you need for joy is actually lying all around you.
Lenk, an American who has over twenty years of experience acting in both films and television, has seen remarkable success recently through his Instagram account. This success came primarily from his justly celebrated talent of “trash crafting.” Obviously, during the time of building up this niche following, he learned a few things, and he spends an hour explaining his findings.
Although the show has a general trash theme, it doesn’t always stick to it. In particular, the beginning of the show is a bit slow and doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the performance. However, the uneasiness of slow start is quickly discarded, as the remaining hour encompasses a wide range of skits, observations, and games with the audience. Using lessons from crafting as his main engine, Lenk tells the audience that the future is scary, and the past is underrated. The message from Lenk feels genuine, and he uses a well put together slideshow, which incorporates pictures from his popular Instagram page to support his hypothesis. There is well-timed audience interaction, which keeps everyone engaged but avoids using awkward audience members as a crutch to comedy.
This show feels exactly like someone rummaging through a trash bin, and pulling out random skits and anecdotes. The connections between are a bit tenuous and sometimes non-existent, but the flow of the show keeps the audience engaged primarily due to Lenk’s ability to react quickly and fill the space with quick observations. Through this energetic and authentic performance, the hour feels less like watching a fringe performance, and more like laughing away whilst crafting on the couch at a friend’s house.