'Kevin, King of Egypt' explores mental illness through comedy at Tampa International Fringe Festival

The stirring one-man play has two performances left this weekend.

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Kevin, King of Egypt

The Attic, 1510 8th Ave, Tampa.

Fri. May 11, 6:30 p.m.; Sat. May 12, 10 p.m.

$13 (+ $3 festival support fee).

Get tickets at tampafringe.org, visit Fringe Central at Gaspar's Grotto, or

purchase tickets at The Attic.

click to enlarge Kevin, King of Egypt at Tampa Fringe - Jennifer Ring
Jennifer Ring
Kevin, King of Egypt at Tampa Fringe

Kevin has manic depression. It's not an easy thing to live with, but Kevin does his best. Sometimes he makes bad decisions, but don't we all make bad decisions sometimes? 

Despite being, maybe, a little crazy, Rob Gee's Kevin is a likeable guy. And he's not that different from the rest of us. He has hopes and dreams and a family and friends. The only difference is that Kevin also has "delusions of grandeur." This isn't that unusual for someone in a manic state, where everything is possible. Kevin, however, takes it to a whole new level. You see, Kevin thinks he is Ramesses II, King of Egypt, reincarnated. Egypt isn't just a cool travel destination for Kevin; it's his destiny. Maybe that's why he was institutionalized.

In Kevin, King of Egypt, we follow Kevin on a journey through mental illness, sharing in his struggles and his triumphs. We see him navigate relationships, always trying to do the right thing. His perception of the world and of himself is a little different from how the rest of us see it, but Kevin always has a reason for everything he does. And that reason makes perfect sense to him, even if the rest of us don't get it.

This probably goes without saying, but most people with manic depression don't think they are reincarnated rulers of Egypt. One of my best friends is manic depressive. She's not crazy. She's a brilliant academic and a good friend, and she taught me a lot about what it's like to live with manic depression. Most of time, it's just making too many commitments when you're manic, because, then, you think you can do anything. This is followed by a struggle to deal with all these extra commitments when you are down. 

Rob Gee learned about mental illness working as a registered nurse in psychiatric units for twelve years. Although Kevin, King of Egypt is a comedy, he's not making fun of the mentally ill. His portrayal of Kevin is based on real people, and it will make you re-think how you imagine and how you treat the mentally ill. And while some scenes are there just to make you laugh, others are a clear call for more compassion in how we treat the mentally ill. Kevin, King of Egypt reminds us that we should spend less time judging people, and more time trying to help them out when they are struggling. I couldn't agree more.

About The Author

Jennifer Ring

Jennifer studied biology for six years, planning for a career in science, but the Universe had other plans. In 2011, Jen was diagnosed with a rare lung disease that sidelined her from scientific research. Her immune system, plagued by Scleroderma, had attacked her lungs to the point of no return. She now required...
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