Humor for everyone

Clarke Reader
Posted 8/9/12

Laughter can be a cathartic release, helping to alleviate the tension in almost any situation. Playwright Christopher Durang capitalizes on that …

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Humor for everyone


Laughter can be a cathartic release, helping to alleviate the tension in almost any situation.

Playwright Christopher Durang capitalizes on that relief in “Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them,” a raucous take on American “insecurity,” currently playing at The Edge Theater.

Running from Aug. 10 through Sept. 9 at The Edge, 9797 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood, “Torture” is the theater’s first play to direct humor at the country’s politics and paranoia about national security and ethnicity.

The political points weren’t the reason the theater elected to do the play, Executive Director Rick Yaconis said. The author was the principle factor.

“Durang is a playwright that we’ve always wanted to do, but he’s such a popular writer that we wanted to do one that hadn’t really been done,” he said. “’Torture’ launched in New York in 2009 and is his most recent play, so we could do something relatively new.”

Durang is known for his absurdist comedy, and “Torture” is no exception. The play centers around the character of Felicity, who wakes up in a hotel one morning to find that she married a man named Zamir the night before.

She suspects her new husband might be a terrorist.

Her parents and the other people in her life are no more stable, and the play includes conspiracy theories about shadow governments, Supreme Court rulings and what really makes a terrorist.

The play’s director, Seth Rossman, likened the comedy to the work of Don Rickles, who inspired cultural such cultural mainstays as “The Simpsons.”

Rickles was notorious for making laughs at everyone’s expense, so if a person was offended by one bit, the next one would attack those with the opposite point of view.

“It’s a little disturbing, and you find yourself really laughing at political incorrectness, but you’re laughing along with everyone else,” Rossman said. “Everyone gets insulted; if you think you’re being picked on, just wait. The other side will be next.”

Aside from the political humor, one aspect that makes “Torture” special is that the seven-person cast is made up entirely of actors and actresses who have never performed at The Edge before.

“The audience has started to know a lot of our actors, so it’s exciting for them to see some new faces,” Yaconis said. The casting was a difficult process, and according to Rossman, three rounds of auditions were needed before they found the right actor to play Zamir.

According to Rossman, the relatively small size of the theater is a great asset for the play because it focuses the audience’s attention on the actors and Durang’s words.

The play’s themes fit in with The Edge’s goal to constantly explore new themes and ideas, Yaconis said.

“This season we’ve tackled failing health, greed, immigration ... so why not get into the realm of political humor?” he said. “We’re still living in the era of red alerts and people being excused of things based on ethnicity, and this play hits that pretty hard. It’s the idea of, what do you visualize when you think of a terrorist. The play pushes the boundary of that.”

While the political commentary is important to the play, it’s not the driving force behind it, nor should it frighten people off.

“It’s an uproariously hilarious play,” Yaconis said. “If you enjoy comedy, especially absurd comedy, than you’ll have a great time.”

For tickets and more information, call 303-232-0363 or go online to


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