Theatre Preview: Durang! fun for the difficulty offended

You think there are people watching you, following you and talking about you. You’ve also considered everyone from the Pope, to George Bush and the DMV clerk are trying to sabotage your chances at happiness. If the above describes you in any way and you’ve had enough of aging conservative white men holding all the power, Hidden Insanity Theatre has a play sure to make you giddy with pessimism. Durang! offers an evening of short sketches of Christopher Durang’s funniest and most controversial short plays.

Durang is a playwright recognized for his offensive and abrasive humour often directed at either American politics or the Catholic Church. A former Catholic, Durang enthusiastically points out flaws and displays his conflict with Catholicism through his comical theatre. As a result, Durang! is not intended to be seen by practicing Catholics.

“This is not for the easily offended,” declares Amanda Chapman, Hidden Insanity’s artistic director. “Because [Durang] is a lapsed Catholic, it comes up in many of his pieces that get slightly political. It’s funny though!”

A good friend of controversy, Hidden Insanity Theatre is purely out to amuse with Durang! Though many of Durang’s plays include underlying social commentary, Chapman insists they are presenting Durang! solely to make people laugh their asses off.

“We don’t like artsy-fartsy theatre,” Chapman announces. “We’re not big fans of experimental running around playing with yourself naked on stage type stuff. We are not trying to change the world or influence anybody. We are not pretending this one’s deep or meaningful. Our goal as a theatre company is primarily to entertain.”

Durang! allows its audience to take a break from serious theatre to relax and enjoy an evening of comedy. The show consists of 11 out of Durang’s 50 short plays, ranging in storylines from the Hardy Boys to alter boys in Heaven, sharing the common themes of paranoia and insecurity in society. Functioning like a sketch comedy show, Durang!’s humour is a risk Hidden Insanity hopes will pay off.

“The play will upset people, but it’s sophisticated in the way it offends people–it’s not crude,” explains Chapman. “It’s a weird badge of honour to get somebody to walk out on a show. If you cause somebody to feel so passionately that they walk out, you’ve reached them.”

Although Hidden Insanity takes pride in its controversial plays, the issues they raise in Durang! are guaranteed to have run through your mind or been aired out among friends. From your mouth to the stage, Durang! entertains with enough pessimism and paranoia to make you roll in the aisles.

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