Matthew Maguire in Wild Man
(© Michelle Tarantina)
Matthew Maguire in Wild Man
(© Michelle Tarantina)
You're just going to have to take Matthew Maguire's word for it that he is, at heart, a "wild man," because there's precious little direct evidence on view during Wild Man, his hour-long autobiographical monologue at the Wild Project.

Even when he flubs an occasional word during his highly stylized delivery, Maguire never breaks character: a control freak who has choreographed every last word of this near-robotic bragfest. The resulting performance suggests watered-down Sam Shepard -- who, being truly cool, would not have to work so hard to seem so. (It's not Maguire's fault that he resembles Bing Crosby in a particularly mellow mood.)

Maguire's text is like a one-sided version of the kind of hipper-than-thou chitchat you might encounter at an artsy cocktail party, as he tells us that he has ingested recreational drugs by the score (such as Quaaludes, which he calls "Quah-ludes"), slept with hundreds of women (whose names he says he dare not mention for fear of lawsuits), and, in the capacity of waiter, hung out with Andy Warhol and various Mafiosi.

That's not all: He also rode a headstrong horse who tried to ditch him; spent the night in a pew at the Mormon Tabernacle; hung out with a Vietnam vet in St. Louis; pretended to be a photographer so as to crash a press conference at Ground Zero; visited a Bourbon Street strip joint; and bested a Scientology E-meter and demanded his money back. You get the gist.

Before launching into further stories, he pauses to address the audience, asking: "Do any of you have lives like this?" Not that he waits for the answer, but yes, some of us do.