Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Trying to Find Humor in Tragedy

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Trying to Find Humor in Tragedy

Article excerpt

BEHIND THE SCENES

Humor is a funny and challenging thing to explain. What makes us laugh? Why do some people simply roll their eyes at a joke, while others are rolling around on the floor?

I'm sure there are a variety of doctors and scientists who could provide some detailed explanation, though we don't really need them for the purposes of today's topic. In general, humor is a personal and subjective thing, based in part on our own life experiences.

Timing also is factor in how we might react. How often have you heard comedians try to make light of some national or international tragedy only to be told it's "too soon"?

So, it may be too soon for the funny but bothersome routine in Florida Studio Theatre's generally enjoyable revue "Inspired Lunacy."

It's a show filled with novelty and satirical songs, mostly from the last 50 years, by a wide variety of composers and lyricists and dealing with a range of issues that complicate our daily lives.

And then there's a scene crafted by the creative team -- director Richard Hopkins, Rebecca Hopkins and Jim Prosser -- called "Symphony in the House," which was part of one edition or another of the theater's "Laughing Matters" cabaret series.

The piece mocks all the irritating things that audience members do during concerts and shows, the kinds of things that I write about with too much frequency.

In this case, it's four older people and one young man attending a symphony concert, and as the orchestra plays "The Blue Danube Waltz," these audience members start coughing and sneezing and rattling candies, all in time to the familiar Strauss melody.

The audience laughs heartily because they recognize the faux pas that they have experienced many times before (perhaps even that very evening), especially when Dane Becker as the youngest audience member answers a phone call and starts talking to the caller, assuming the noisy people around him won't notice. …

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