Photo by Brian Ray
Todd Danielson practices his lines during a rehearsal for "Trading Bases: As-Boat Extreme" at the Steamboat Mountain Theater on Wednesday night. Performances are scheduled for April 3 to 5.
- Thursday, April 3, 2008, 8 p.m.
- Steamboat Mountain Theater, Steamboat Springs
It's easy to be mean. Making mean funny takes a little more work.
"It's taking reality and it's taking it into the absurd. Mean humor is easy, but not necessarily funny. We don't want to totally offend someone," said Brian Harvey, describing his upcoming Ski Town Productions presentation of "Trading Bases: As-Boat Extreme."
Following the misadventures of three Steamboat caricatures who swap spots with three folks from Aspen, this year's Pirate Theatre piece - such as the ones before it - draws on local peculiarities and personalities for its laughs. New this year, the play gets some no-brainer shots from Aspen.
"We can really make fun of them because they're a whole other town - there are no repercussions, really," writer Todd Danielson said of going to town on Aspen stereotypes. Taking potshots at his own acting sheriff, sitting City Council or newspaper editors might be just as easy, but it's (slightly) more delicate.
For the most part, Danielson said, the play's Steamboat-centric jokes write themselves. On his third script for a Pirate Theatre production, Danielson - who also took the writing lead for the group's promotional Pirate & Yesterday spoof newspaper - said working all the town's eccentricities into a single plotline can be tough.
"That's the easy part," he said of finding people and topics to mock. "The hard part is writing a story that incorporates all those jokes. And I think we did."
Aside from commentary on development, city government, schools and current events, Pirate Theatre also plays on the presidential primaries and other national events. Harvey, who's produced these shows since their inception, said the jabs are even-handed.
"We certainly don't align ourselves left, right or center. We just get everyone who has an opinion," he said. "If you're even just on the periphery of knowing what's going on in politics, you'll find it funny."
For those who have been to past Pirate productions, many of the characters featured in the end-of-ski-season celebration will be familiar faces, institutionalized to more effectively poke fun at local institutions. Throwing in another town allows for some new stars, said actor and technical director Kelly Anzalone.
"The cool thing about the show, if you've seen a lot of them, is that there are a lot of new characters that are just hilarious, and I think they're going to steal the show," he said.
"We did our first read-through a couple of weeks ago, and I had to stop, I was laughing so hard."