StageManager: What is Abstract Comedy? Lou Drew Explains

Inside Redding’s Bohemian Art Loft lives a mysterious entity known as Theater Lab, a small experimental company with leanings toward the avant-garde. In April, Theater Lab gave us “The Absurdists.” This May 20 to May 22, the Bohemians present their second installment of minimalist productions in the form of Three Comedies.

Lou Drew's self portrait

I spoke with Redding playwright and actor F. Lou Drew, who will perform his most recent work as a part of this trio, a short and colorful piece called “Twelve Titles.”

DW “Twelve Titles” is billed as an abstract comedy. Can you tell us more about what makes it abstract?

LD The piece is actually a compilation of art forms — music (flute), voice and chosen readings, t’ai chi, and a colorful costume used to paint a moving image through the venue. It is not comedy-funny, it is comedy in the sense it is not a tragedy. I really picked the word abstract to protect against people thinking they need to “understand” the meaning rather than feel the experience.

DW You originally had several actors cast to play various parts. Why did you decide to change the structure to a one-person play?

LD That is not quite accurate. My original concept includes a full length, one-man show. I was working with a shortened version with this group of actors as a Theatre Lab exercise to be performed. As the exercise evolved I decided to return to my original idea. I still envision a full-length version in the future.

DW You are also known as a t’ai chi sifu (teacher) and have integrated some t’ai chi forms into the play. What do you hope to communicate with this technique?

LD The movement is part of the collage of elements noted above.

DW What do the Twelve Titles represent? Are they autobiographical references?

LD The titles are title of books, plays, movies and songs that have significantly affected the course of my life. In this piece I have chosen just a few. So to extend the metaphor of abstract painting, you might think of this piece as part of the abstract self-portrait.

DW What do you want audiences to take from this abstract comedy?

LD I hope the performance is honest enough to stir more than a few emotions in a short period of time. If I can find an ounce of truth and express it well, it should resonate.

*****

To browse the Stage Manager’s ongoing list of local theater arts events — or suggest one you know of — please click here.

An actor, director, and artist, Dean Williams has appeared on Shasta County stages for over 25 years in nearly 100 different roles. He has collaborated with many theatre groups and is co-founder of The Root Theatre Company. He has also voiced characters for Sega and Playstation video games, and acted for a number of radio, televison and independent film projects. Reach Dean at cafestagemanager@gmail.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Avatar
An actor, director, and artist, Dean Williams has appeared on Shasta County stages for over 25 years in nearly 100 different roles. He has collaborated with many theatre groups and is co-founder of The Root Theatre Company. He has also voiced characters for Sega and Playstation video games, and acted for a number of radio, televison and independent film projects. Ever since the first stories were acted out around ancient fires, theatre has held the power to move audiences like no other art form. It remains Williams's focus because live theatre has the potential to tell us every human story, intimately and impactfully. It becomes a magic mirror in which we see our own stories.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar adrienne jacoby says:

    Thanks, Dean . . .

    Good to see you here. I trust your take on anything "drama" ., . . . other subjects? Hmmmm . . . I think the jury is still out!! LOL!!

  2. Avatar toasty redhead says:

    Right on!