Some men respond to a midlife crisis by buying convertibles. Others have affairs.
Trent Armand Kendall wrote a musical.
"I was turning 40, and starting to look back my life," Kendall said in a phone interview. "And then I started to think about going through my apartment and just getting rid of everything and starting over."
Rather than physically ridding himself of all the detritus from his life, Kendall wrote a one-man musical about the process called Picture Incomplete. He has performed it a couple of times in New York. The show's non-New York debut is set for this weekend at the Shimberg Playhouse.
It revolves around Kendall taking his belongings to the curb in front of his New York apartment, and in the process, taking stock of his history.
"In New York, when you throw stuff away, someone always looks through it to see if there's anything they want," Kendall said. "Someone else is going to find it valuable even if you don't. So in the show, I'm deciding whether these things still have meaning to me or if I just want to trash it all. The answer, of course, is that you hold onto a few things, you get rid of the rest, and build on those things that you value the most."
Kendall has been playing the preacher in the national tour of The Color Purple since last year. He's leaving that show to tour with his one-man play, in which he plays myriad characters.
Kendall's performance is part of the Shimberg's Off Center Series, which brings in artists whose style or vision doesn't fit neatly into major performance categories.
It's a new name for the series, which until this year was called Expanding Horizons. The new series title is, in part, a reference to the original name of the Shimberg.
"For a long time, the series didn't have a name," said Karla Hartley, who has been involved with the theater since the beginning and books the acts for the Off Center Series. "We just brought people in. Then we started calling it Expanding Horizons. But that sounds like too much work. A lot of people don't want to have their horizons expanded."
Other scheduled entries in the series are F. Reed Brown in Voices (Jan. 9-11), based on writings of Emily Dickinson, Anne Frank, Langston Hughes and others; Rhodessa Jones and Idris Ackamoor in The Love Project (Feb. 13-15), which examines the role of love in a violent world; and Sorab Wadia in The Kite Runner (May 1-3), the story of a friendship between two boys on the opposite ends of Afghan society, well known from both the bestselling novel and the movie version.