ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A sketch comedy trio had to look back at the United States from across the Atlantic to uncover what was funny about their culture.
The threesome, the Up & Down Theatre Company, share their insight in “Winning the Future,” a satirical musical comedy.
“It’s a fun, silly hour of song and sketch that pokes fun at wealth and equality, Federal Reserve banking and young kids who are freaked out about the eclipse,” says collaborator Lindsey Hope Pearlman.
|If you go
WHAT: Up & Down Theatre Company presents “Winning the Future”
WHEN and WHERE: 7 p.m. Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30 and April 5-6 at The Box, 100 Gold SW, Suite 112B; 8 p.m. April 19 and 20 and 4 p.m. April 21 at Santa Fe’s Teatro Paraguas, 3205 Calle Marie
HOW MUCH: Tickets $10, visit www.theboxabq.com for tickets and more information. Or visit www.teatroparaguas.org for tickets for the Santa Fe show
Pearlman of Brooklyn, N.Y., was studying at the London International School of Performing Arts, and was watching President Barack Obama deliver the 2011 State of the Union address with Robin Holloway, a jazz pianist of Santa Fe, and Kate Chavez of Albuquerque, who teaches school when she isn’t performing or studying abroad.
In the speech, Obama said, “To win the future, we have to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.”
“What does that even mean? It doesn’t mean anything. Who but Americans would look at the future as if it could be won?” says Chavez.
“We saw the comedy inherent in that. We dug into that and explored what does it look like to win the future? We were three ex-pats looking back at the States with a different perspective and a shared humor with that,” she says.
Pearlman says, “Because we were in London, we could look at ourselves with this warm, loving satirical eye. You can’t just be, you have to win. So we started looking at that and how it impacts all areas of society.”
Chavez says the show is Americana comedy, with a little something for everyone: even her conservative friends find it funny.
One skit features a ballad about Obama in the tradition of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.” “Even though we feel betrayed, we still love him,” Pearlman says.
Another sketch finds two yoga buddies competing with each other about their diets and the amazing amount of food they can’t eat anymore and still be environmentally correct.
Chavez says, “We’re laughing at ourselves, at our liberal guilt, at not wanting to harm anything or do anything wrong, but we can’t even get into our car without having an impact.”
Holloway, who had been living in London before enrolling in the school, says as he opened up to humor, he found what was funny to him wasn’t as hilarious to his European classmates. Comedy and culture are intertwined.
The trio comes together several times a year to write, play and find what’s funny now, mostly at his home in Santa Fe. They recently performed their show in New York City and were well received, he says. They hope to perform it in Chicago, Montreal and several other cities.
“We noticed as Americans we shared a perspective. So we decided to do a show about American culture, pointing out the eccentricities, cultural hypocrisy and ambiguities. Things are not what they seem,” he says. “We make light of these imperfections, while not assuming we have any answers at all.”