Trueth is 30 minutes of brief, comedic scenes. That's the simplest explanation. The flyer for the show, which has upcoming performances tonight at 9:30 p.m. at the Upright Citizens Brigade's Franklin Theatre and on Dec. 4, further describes it as “comedy and social experiments.”
It's definitely not improv. And it's not really sketch or stand-up either. Basically, it's the performance-art version of the stream-of-consciousness of someone witty.
And it's completely unpredictable. A violinist participates sporadically. A list of imagined Facebook updates takes the form of a modern dance that moves through the audience. Someone breakdances. Someone might, depending on the lack of cooperation of his or her gag reflex, vomit.
Each bit in the show is the extrapolation of one of creator and writer Michael Glazer's random ideas. On his Twitter page (@GlazerBooHooHoo), these thoughts are notions. In his two self-published books, the ideas are further realized with images and illustrations. On the streets of Los Angeles, they take the form of pranks. In his stage show, they're fully actualized scenes.
For example, Glazer, who cites Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons as inspiration, tells the audience to blink as fast as we can, so that the next scene will look like a movie. We do. It works. It's funny. You can imagine this idea translating into a number of formats.
There's a fluidity among Glazer's projects. Pieces of the show are in his books. Parts of his books have also appeared in random hotel lobbies, such as a fake and hilarious pictorial brochure advertising an “Uncle's Getaway”: “New friends (uncles). New uncle promises. New uncle beginnings. Utter uncle mayhem!”
One of his pranks appears in the show. And if you noticed flyers posted around the city requesting help finding a lost yak, and responded to said request, you may be on the show too. A few times throughout the show, Glazer plays recordings of voicemails left by concerned citizens. “I did that as soon as I moved here, started putting those up,” he tells me over the phone. “And it went really well. I was proud of that. In a sad way.”
Rather than letting the format dictate the content, Glazer — who started his career in Chicago at the experimental Annoyance Theater, as well as at Second City — shapes the content to fit whatever the composition, making his work highly interchangeable. Almost everything he does works anywhere else. The one exception might be that Glazer once choreographed and directed a totally serious modern dance. “Yeah, that was quite a departure from everything else,” Glazer recalls. Although I suppose you could still find a commonality in all of his work: He creates whatever he wants.
Trueth was written and created by Michael Glazer; stars Glazer, Chris Woods, Chuck Maa, and Lisa Laureta; and is directed by Adam McCabe. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hlywd; Nov. 20 and Dec. 4 (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com.
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