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Om on the Range

Five years ago, Antoine Valot, Kenn Penn and Rick Bivens got together to write short sketches using the exquisite-cadaver method: One of them would type a line, then pass the laptop to the next guy. “So absurdity was built into the process,” Valot explains. The Department of Redundancy Department, the surrealist sketch-comedy group that resulted from that process, has been putting on plays nearly every month since, at the Bug Theatre’s freakishly random and genre-defying open-stage Freak Train. Now the absurd playwrights have combined twelve of those shorts into one full-scale production, titled Ten Buddhist Tales. “The premise is a Buddhist guru enlists the help of a deranged theater troupe made of mentally challenged people to try to teach Buddhism in a Western way,” Valot says. Randomness — a recurring sausage theme, a Matrix-style fight scene — ensues. But there are also real conversations the friends have had about their own practical philosophies. “For Westerners to talk about Buddhism is a little preposterous,” Valot says. “We’re too enamored in junk; our brains are too full of junk. I’m hoping there is something that comes through this craziness, some form of epiphany, togetherness.” And as part of that togetherness, there’s a nod to Don Becker, the late comedian who co-wrote some of the sketches.

Fittingly, the show premieres at 8 p.m. tonight, Friday the 13th, at the Bug, 3654 Navajo Street; it runs through April 5. For tickets, $10, call 303-477-9984 or go to For more information, go to
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 29, 2 p.m.; Sun., April 5, 2 p.m. Starts: March 13. Continues through April 5, 2009


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