Essay / Art

Defending the Caveman: Tour Dates with Chris Sullivan

Defending the Caveman: Tour Dates with Chris SullivanThis brilliant show restores my faith in La Mirada theater. Annie, their last, was a dreary paint by numbers show with no energy and overly precious children. By contrast, Defending the Caveman fills the stage and the auditorium. . . and it has one person in it.Chris Sullivan is witty, knows the secret of working a difficult La Mirada audience, and is working with great material. La Mirada is a great theater town, but like many communities can tend to like “standards.” This show is not part of the musical theater canon. It also refreshingly is geared to married people in their thirties and forties. As to the show, it actually has something important to say. Pop culture allows television to mock men with impunity. Fathers are portrayed as uniformly stupid and stereotypically masculine behavior is ridiculed. Women’s ways are exalted by much of society while men’s foibles make them barbarians in the household. This point has been made before, but never by a manic man surrounded by underwear. The play asks men and women to enter into each other world and accept the differences. That sounds sappy and like a p.c. greeting card, but is actually making a point subversive to the leftist culture. Conservatives are happy to accept difference. It is one fringe feminist group that decided that men and women were interchangeable. To give one example that has already entered the family lexicon: Sullivan pictures women as “information gatherers.” They meet and pass information back and forth. “Hello, honey. You look great. Did you hear that A is getting an operation Monday?” “You look great too. I can’t believe that A is in such a bad way. It reminds me of B. Did you know she is sick, but is still getting a new house?”Women bond by sharing information. Start watching and you will see it is true. Men are “hunters” who tend to talk about a common task. They don’t gather information and don’t enjoy distributing it. This can make for conversational hell.This is not Dante and it is not new, but is done in a witty way. The show is best for married couples. It has some naughty language, but led to a great deal of good talk in our family.

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