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 Theatres 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. Were too enamored in junk; our brains are too full of junk. Im hoping there is something that comes through this craziness, some form of epiphany, togetherness. And as part of that togetherness, theres 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 www.bugtheatre.org. For more information, go to http://reredundancy.com.
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