By Meredith Alcorn
Laughter truly is the best therapy, especially when we're forced to laugh at ourselves.
Defending the Caveman makes us laugh at ourselves about all the ways men and women fight, laugh and love. It's a smart, funny and insightful one-man play running through Sunday (April 5) at the Booth Playhouse.
Rob Becker took more than three years to write the show, which was first presented in 1991 in San Francisco then moved to Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, and ultimately Broadway. Defending the Caveman still holds the record as the longest running solo play in Broadway history. Becker's understanding of the sexes has made him a favorite with psychologists, counselors and therapists.
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The solo performer in the current Charlotte production is Philadelphia native Vince Valentine. Vince explains that men are hunters and women are gatherers. For nearly 2 hours (with a short intermission) Vince offers a variety of hilarious situations to prove the analogy still exists today.
Set on a sparse stage with just a caveman chair, television set, hunting spear, and a hamper full of dirty underwear, the play manages to advocate for the women's side, while still being sympathetic to the male side of issues. I think that is what makes this production different -- it's not merely male or female bashing. Defending the Caveman objectively looks at both sides and sees the motivation for the different behaviors. He even links those differences to the millions of years of human evolution.
And, it's possible to recognize the differences and perceive them without placing judgment. And you thought this was just a play about a club-wielding Neanderthal cave man!
Defending the Caveman had us laughing at ourselves. The audience was mostly couples... the majority of whom were nudging one another at different points. You don’t have to be married or in a relationship to appreciate this play, although it probably helps.
If you are a man, or a woman, or have ever been one...you will see something of yourself in this production and smile.