IndyFringe: How Do You Read Me?

This is part of IndyFringe 2022, Aug. 18-Sept. 4 (individual performance times vary) in downtown Indianapolis. Details and tickets at IndyFringe.org.

By John Lyle Belden

Howard Lieberman and Loren Niemi are master storytellers, in part because they speak candidly about their fairly long and interesting lives. In “How Do You Read Me?” they use deeply personal stories to confront our perceptions of what we think when we see a person with a particular look or in a specific situation.

Lieberman recalls returning from closing a big-money deal to see a homeless person on the street and giving the man a dollar. But Howard has had personal experience with homelessness, and he returns to the man, spending a day that realigns his life. Niemi recalls from his young adulthood, his own day spent with “Tommy the Wino,” the taste of Mad Dog 20/20, and the effect that lingered long past the alcohol.

There’s no guarantee you’ll get the same stories, but you might also hear about when the road took Lieberman to Boston, where a big man called La Diabla became his guardian angel. Then, there was the time Niemi badly mistook a first impression, gaining an enlightening lesson on how a person deals with an unusual and emotionally taxing life.

While, in the past, their stories typically elicit laughter, this time the humor is subtle, allowing room for the full range of appropriate emotions. “It’s worth the moment of seriousness,” they say, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Don’t judge this show by its “cover,” delve within and experience the richness of their stories. Remaining performances are 5:30 p.m. Thursday and 8:45 Saturday, Aug. 25 and 27, at the IndyFringe Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair.

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