According to critics, playwrights Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy have been modestly named two of the funniest human beings on the face of the earth.
The two women's shared view of the world can be seen in Glen Ellyn at the Village Theatre Guild's upcoming production of "Parallel Lives," a collection of 11 incisive, funny vignettes.
The two-woman play offers a glimpse into the lives of a slew of characters -- both female and male -- and their unique, individual takes on society, sex, gender roles, changing mores, religion and politics.
At the start the playwrights introduce us to two Supreme Beings who create the world with the same verve as two housewives decorating a living room. They create the races -- white people being the most mundane of colors -- then sex and the sexes enter the mix. To compensate for women's advantaged position in the scheme of things, they are given painful childbirth and men are afforded enormous egos.
From this moment, the audience is whisked through the outrageous universe, where the cast plays men and women struggling through the common rituals of modern life. With boundless humor, "Parallel Lives" re-examines the ongoing quest to find parity and love in a contest handicapped by capricious gods -- or, in this case, goddesses.
"'Parallel Lives' is full of comedy played on a variety of levels," said director Stephen Rader. "And almost each scene has sections that cut close to the bone with real tenderness and truth, which, I think, is rare in a show that makes you laugh so hard and so often.
"'Parallel Lives' walks up to the line of irreverent and might dance on it from time to time, but there's always a good-natured sense about it, so it never moves beyond irreverent into offensive," he added.
Rader said he's amazed by actors Annie Slivinski and Karen Bronson.
"They just jump into these characters," he said, "both the women and the men."
Rader ponders his thoughts on comedy.
"To me, comedy is music. There's a rhythm and a cadence to humor that you just feel," he said. "And I think that almost everyone has a unique sense of their own comedy, their own rhythm of a joke or a funny line."
The play runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 2, 3, 9 and 10, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling (630) 469-8230.
The Village Theatre is Glen Ellyn's community theater company located northwest of the intersection of Park Boulevard and Butterfield Road. For information, visit villagetheatreguild.org;/ exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.vill agetheatreguild.org/.
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