I ascend the stairs to the Upstairs at the Federal’s cabaret space filled with excited anticipation. Los Angeles has just reinstated its indoor mask mandate which had me pondering if it was even wise to be here with the new delta variant. My love of theatre, live performances, and David LaMarr ultimately won. I was fully vaccinated after all so seeing a show entitled “Fully Vaccinated” could only bring about good things right? I’m so incredibly happy I did not miss this magical one night only show.
David LaMarr and Darnell White’s two man show “Fully Vaccinated” should be required viewing after the collective trauma of the Covid 19 pandemic. Their Los Angeles show was part homecoming for LaMarr and a way to introduce his LA Theatre family to the immense talent of his wonderfully supportive partner White. And while maybe unintentional, it served as a reunion of sorts for the audience members themselves, who after over a year of quarantine had not been able to see each other. Theatre is after all about collaboration and community.
LaMarr’s comedic genius started from the pre-show when he came out in full medical garb to perform temperature checks on the audience. It continued in the staggering slapstick physical comedy opening number Coronavirus. But LaMarr and White were not content to just make us laugh. LaMarr’s wonderful fluid singing voice can do it all. They reminded us of the worldwide awakening to the racial disparities in this country that occurred during the pandemic. LaMarr eloquently stated “the real virus is racism” as he and White paid an emotional tribute to George Floyd and countless other black lives that have been senselessly cut short.
Darnell White served as a gentle calming backbone to the show sitting behind the keys and wowing the audience with his beautiful deep voice. Most of the songs were his original compositions. White had brilliant subtle comedic moments. All he had to do was raise an eyebrow and break the fourth wall by looking into the audience to get an enormous laugh. The audience could feel the palpable love and respect LaMarr and White had for each other as artists and romantic partners.
Another beautiful moment in the show was the reminder to look for the good among the bad and heartache of the pandemic with the song Try to Smile. There will always be hard times but if we smile in the in between we can attract joy. The lyrics say it best “Let’s have joy in between the spaces of this time, Everything will come round again, Let’s forget about the isolation of today, And for a while just try to smile.”
LaMarr and White did not allow the audience to be passive seat fillers but demanded we go on the pandemic journey with them. They were vulnerable, raw, and brutally honest. They had us clapping along, singing along, and tearing up. My only complaint is that the show was only done once in Los Angeles because more people should experience the beauty of it. But that’s one of the devastatingly attractive aspects of theatre: It’s visceral impermanence. Everyone in the audience that night participated in a special, soul affirming live performance. I am so incredibly thankful that “Fully Vaccinated” by David LarMarr and Darnell White was my first live performance back after the turbulent Covid 19 quarantine.
Need more Inspiration?
Satire: It’s Okay. I’ve Been Vaccinated
5 Historic North Orange County Parks for Vitamin D Seekers