It’s safe to say that playwright and actor Lucas Myers is fond of pushing the boundaries of live theatre.
In his April 29 performance of DECK at Errington War Memorial Hall, he built an actual deck with the help of audience members, which served to communicate a message about accepting imperfection.
Returning to the hall on March 10, Myers is bringing what he jokingly refers to as a post-modern, neo-vaudeville show, complete with talking balloons in luchador masks, anatomically correct sock puppets (home-made), and other whacky fun that serve as the tools for telling some tender, heartfelt tales in absurd ways.
Called The Amazing and Impermeable Cromoli Brothers Present: The Best of the Cromoli Brothers, the vaudeville-inspired act is made up of short plays with names such as Nude Beach, Shot in the Dark, Tish Saskatoon and His No Good Band, and SEX.
One way the audience gets involved is to choose the order in which the sections are performed.
And yes, Nude Beach tends to be a popular choice, said Myers.
This and other audience participation aspects (none of which are meant to put people on the spot, he said) are to promote the anything-can-happen feel of the performance, said Myers.
“I don’t know how the show is going to go in terms of the flow of it,” he said. “Every night is completely unique, which I think is fun for the audience… It’s just fun to see what’s going to happen.”
While the performance is constructed as an opportunity for Myers to make people laugh, he said it’s also important to him to have some meaningful moments couched within all the hijinks.
“What I liked about vaudeville is the idea that the show must go on, and it’s got to be entertaining. That’s the whole point of vaudeville. It’s juggling, it’s funny, it’s goofy,” he said. But that’s just the surface.
“For example, one of the plays is called Dear Mary, I’m in a Gang Now,” said Myers. “It’s this very sweet song played on a glockenspiel… about being in a gang… and how he feels like he belongs for the first time.”
Another piece, called Pilot Talk, features a manly pilot talking to his co-pilot, both represented by balloons in Mexican wrestling masks.
“(They’re) having a tender moment,” said Myers where the pilots asks to kiss the co-pilot. “It’s this kind of bi-curious moment,” he said, with “this beautiful electronica music playing.
“So it’s just this kind of overlay, but within that, there is a meaningful moment.”
The play is one of Myers’ classics, having first been performed about 14 years ago.
It doesn’t work everywhere, he said, but he noted that smaller communities such as Quadra Island, and, hopefully, Errington, which has just finished the last performance of this year’s Night at the Palace Vaudeville and Burlesque show, really get into it.
The Cromoli Brothers show takes place Saturday, March 10, at 8 p.m. at Errington War Memorial Hall (1390 Errington Rd.). The Magic of Zanthera will also be performing. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Errington Central Store, Cranky Dog Music in Parksville and Heaven on Earth Natural Foods in Qualicum Beach, as well as online at erringtonhall.tickit.ca.