‘Defending the Caveman’
September 24, 2007
“Defending the Caveman” is without a doubt the biggest theater success that nobody talks about in history.
With a two-year run on Broadway of 600 performances, making it the longest running one-person show in history, one would think it would be right up there in the public memory with “The Sound of Music” or “The Bourne Ultimatum.”
Never mind, after its second appearance in Carson City on Oct. 5-6 at the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall, it certainly will live on in local memories.
The caveman, or star, is Isaac Lamb, of Portland Ore., one of several actors taking this play on the road, when the writer and original star Rob Becker decided to share it with other actors.
“I guess I am lucky, but the fact that the show is as good or better without me is a blessing. I knew the show was good, but I was always afraid that without me it would not do as well,” Becker says.
What is this show? It’s a delightful mixture of stand-up comedy, a university lecture and group therapy session with humor as the moderator. It’s a study of the war between the sexes, going back to the Stone Age when men were hunters and women were gatherers. That’s the crux of the show. Men are single-minded (“Kill the mastodon!”) and women are multi-minded and happy to talk things out.
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“I am as surprised as anyone (at the show’s continuing success),” says Becker. “We continue to book the show as the demand continues. The fact that the people who love the show return and bring others each time we return to a city is the best part.”
Lamb, who has performed as the “Cavemen” more than 700 times around the country, is the winner of many awards, including the Drammy Award for his work in the “Beauty and the Beast” in Portland.
“The show is just fun but it has been endorsed by therapists,” says Lamb. “I think part of its success is due to how in the ’90s (when it was written) people were coming out of closets and facing the reality around them. They accepted the idea of a group of men and group of women who still carry those hunter-gatherer instincts with them.”
Some of the insights offered by Lamb during the show:
• “Men don’t appreciate women who like to sleep in physical contact with them. The reason: Men are so highly sexed that even the slightest touch arouses them.”
• “Men bond by exchanging obscene names, women bond by gossiping. Men don’t care how they look, but if you take a woman out and don’t compliment her right away, you’re in big trouble.”
• The ways men and women resolve the question of who will refill the potato-chip bowl. “Men will sit and watch TV wondering why there aren’t any chips. Women will go in the kitchen and discuss the chips.”
• Women speak 7,000 words per day, men 2,000.”
The Caveman’s aim, Lamb says, is to explain that the differences between the sexes go back to the Stone Age.
• “Men are more single-minded than women, who can look at television and talk at the same time. Women use the remote control differently from men. Men employ the control as a weapon, to zap (in effect to kill) the stations as they pass by; women pause at each station to pick up information before moving on. “
Rob Becker’s “Defending The Caveman” was first staged in 1991 and has been performed before more than five million people worldwide in more than 30 countries in 15 different languages.
What can Carson City audiences expect from “Caveman”?
Lamb says, “a really funny, good time. And you might find yourself afterwards walking out holding hands with your companion.”
The Brewery Arts Center presents “Defending the Cavemen” in the BAC Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5-6.
Single tickets are $32 with group discounts available. Tickets are at the Brewery Arts Center at 883-1976, visiting http://www.breweryarts.or at the BAC box office at 449 W. King St.
• Contact Sam Bauman at email@example.com or 881-1236.