Campus theatre pokes at pop music and TV

By James Keller

Like growing sentiments in today’s society, popular culture is stupid. And, like all things stupid, it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

This is the message being thrown out to the masses in the newest production from University of Calgary’s Hidden Insanity, Culture Pop. According to director and actor Jonathan Chapman, many people tend to disregard popular culture entirely, so it may be time to embrace and poke fun at it. Chapman also wrote the group’s last project, Watching Fight Club Made me Crazy.

"I think we’re just saying people should notice how silly [pop culture] is," says Chapman. "Let’s not take N*Sync seriously as an artistic statement because look what happens when you push them a little further."

The production, written and directed by the company, is a series of comedy sketches poking fun at everything including N*Sync, U2 and popular television shows. From song and video parodies to original comedy pieces, Culture Pop hopes to let people look at modern culture in a new light.

However, Chapman also acknowledges the irony in creating a piece centering around culture, since they themselves are creating culture through this production.

"What we’re doing is pop culture," admits Chapman. "We’re performing for people, and we’re constructing something. It’s entertainment."

Despite this, Chapman hopes people don’t come into the show expecting a greater message. After all, it’s a comedy.

"If we were doing a drama, there’s themes and there’s focus," he comments on the differences in genres. "In this case, the underlying theme is pop is silly, [so] have fun with it."

Likewise, Hidden Insanity is hoping audiences will take the same casual approach to some possibly offensive aspects of the script.

"It could be offensive," says Chapman. Some scenes in the play use the concept of shock as a comedic element. "But since it’s so over the top, you can’t take it as seriously offensive."

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