News Column

Mars & Venus [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

September 12, 2013

YellowBrix

if you go Performance: "Men are from Mars -- Women are from Venus Live!" Performer: Peter Story Time/date: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 Site: Five Flags Theater Cost: $40; use passcode MARS to receive tickets for $20, plus fees. synopsis A one-man show based on the 1992 book by John Gray. It's bits of wisdom about relationships cloaked in comedy and storytelling. It is written by award-winning playwright Eric Coble, directed by Broadway veteran Mindy Cooper, with animation and video production by Bazillion Productions. Tidbit Story has appeared in TV shows including "CSI," "Without a Trace" and "Ugly Betty" and recurring roles on Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show" and Rob Lowe's "The Lyon's Den." He stars opposite Steve Guttenberg in the cheesy horror film, "Cornered," and can be seen opposite Weed's Elizabeth Perkins in the short, "Le Chat Est Mort."At the end of the day, we all want to feel loved.

"The catch is that as Martians and Venutians, we need completely different things to feel loved," Peter Story said.

He performs the touring one-man show, "Men are from Mars - Women are from Venus Live!" It will be at Five Flags Theater on Saturday, Sept. 21.

"It's got a strong stand-up comedy feel," the Los Angeles-based actor said. "(It's) kind of a mashup of classic Bill Cosby, plus things on the projection screen fused with stories of my life, juxtaposed and interspersed. It's not like going to a conference."

Even though the book of the same name by John Gray is 20 years old, Story said the concepts remain relevant.

"Men will come up to me and say, 'That's exactly the way my wife is,'" he said. "These days divorce is so common, and there are so many more economic pressures on couples."

He said he was eager to do the show when he heard that the playwright was Eric Coble.

"Usually you do it the way it is on the page. Honor the playwright," he said. "But (I was told to) feel free to make it yours. I edited, reworded, added some jokes. The beauty is that it has the ability to morph, to be catered to whatever market you're in. Typically I get into town early, get out and talk to people, find out what do people complain about, what they are known for."

"Across the board, I would say relationship faults are men not understanding women. When understanding happens, the waters start to calm," he said. While he explores that idea in the first part of the show, in the second half, he tries to help women understand men.

"One of my first lines in the show is, 'I've been in a bunch of failed relationships,'" he said. He waited a long time to marry, in his mid-30s, and just celebrated his third wedding anniversary in June.

"It's very hard as an actor traveling around, but I met this one girl, Megan. It was very clear she was different; I snapped her up."

In fact, his tale of how he and his wife won a dream wedding competition was on NPR's "The Moth Radio Hour," a show featuring the country's best storytellers.

Story is his real last time. For most of his life, he thought he was living out the destiny laid down by storytelling ancestors. But when he went to England and did a bit of genealogy, he found that the meaning of the name was "people that ran stores. Very humbling" he said.

He said the show is "a raucous good time. That's why the show has grown in popularity. People are having a great time. If it were more serious, that might not be the case. We take great pains to see that it's a night of entertainment."

Story points out that Martian and Venutian tendencies are not exclusive to males and females respectively.

"But like with same-sex couples, we share those roles," he said. "Sometimes I act like a Venutian and my wife is a Martian.

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