Modern-day relationship conflicts may be rooted in our hunting and gathering Paleolithic past. At least that’s the premise of a long-running one-man Broadway show, “Defending the Caveman,” that returns to Albuquerque at the KiMo Theatre next weekend.
“The reason this show works so well is that men and women are from different cultures, really, and couples in the audience can relate to that,” explains producer Bill Mann of Theater Mogul. “It goes back to the time when men were hunters and women were gatherers.”
Mann says about 25 years ago comedian Rob Becker made an informal study of psychology, prehistory, anthropology, sociology and mythology to learn as much as he could about the “battle of the sexes,” to developed the script for the play that has been performed in more than 40 countries and translated into 23 languages.
|If you go
WHAT: “Defending the Caveman”
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9 and 2 p.m. Feb. 10
WHERE: KiMo Theatre, 423 W. Central
HOW MUCH: Reserved tickets $25-$35, online at www.kimotickets.com or by calling 886-1251. Advanced tickets also available at the KiMo box office, open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Remaining tickets also on sale during showtimes
“We’ve lost our honor for the differences between men and women,” Mann explains from his office in Los Angeles. “This is pure comedy, but it isn’t misogynistic or condescending. Rob wrote it as a kind of love letter to his wife.”
Becker thought men and women could relate better if they could use humor to look at their differences, he says: “This isn’t therapy or couched in clinical ideas, but we have quite a few pieces of fan mail from couples who say this show saved their marriage.”
Cody Lyman, originally from Colorado, who will play the Caveman in the Albuquerque performance, says he knows he’s hit his mark when he sees couples laughing and nudging each other during the show.
“One of my favorite things to do is to watch couples walking out holding hands,” he says. “I know it touches a lot of people.”
How men and women evolved differently, using language to communicate in different ways, was all about survival, he adds.
If you are part of a hunting group of men, bonding was through action. Too much noise and no one ate dinner, he says.
But if you were part of a gathering band of women, bonding with other women through language and making noise kept you safe and scared predators away.
Lyman says the stereotype that women speak more words a day is often true, at least as it applies to conversation between spouses.
“A lot of times, I’m just out of words and my wife has 2,000 more words to go. We’re different and it’s OK. We evolved that way,” he says, adding that the show offers insight into those unexplained silences.
For example, Lyman says he’s often on the road and sometimes finds himself joining a foursome of golfers he doesn’t know: “My wife will ask me about them. But even though I spent the afternoon with them, I have no idea. We played golf. Basically, I was out hunting.”
“I don’t want to bill this as therapy,” he says. “My wife and I still have the same silly disagreements, but at least we can laugh. Maybe I was having a hunting moment or she was having a gathering moment.”