The Avenue’s regional premiere of Love Child promises to be nothing if not fast-paced. In this comedic, two-man show, Steven J. Burge and Damon Guerrasio together portray over two dozen characters. Those familiar with The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), Completely Hollywood and other small-cast, whirlwind shows will find a familiar pace in this one. But Love Child brings a brand new story with a new twist — a play within a play, where the actors are alternating not only between characters onstage, but characters offstage as well (including the mother of one of the performers). With this many layers of comedy, Love Child promises to keep the (real) audience on its toes, chuckling, all night long.
Love Child requires both of the actors to not only play multiple roles, but to switch between them quickly. Steven J. Burge is a veteran at this type of demanding performance, having performed in The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) and Completely Hollywood, as well as Fully Committed, a one-man show featuring 30-something characters. “In a lot of ways, Love Child is most similar to Fully Committed in that, Damon and I truly are playing multiple people within the same show, whereas with that Complete Works shows, I pretty much played a heightened version of myself, playing super broad caricatures,” says Burge. ” Only, complicating things even further, Love Child is a play within a play, so not only are Damon and I playing multiple people, we’re playing multiple people playing multiple people. It’s crazy.” Damon Guerrasio has also been prepared for this kind of role, but in a different way. “Does ensemble in a musical count?” he asked, when asked whether he had experience playing multiple roles. “Usually, the biggest problem there is trying to get my pants off over my head during a quick costume change without breaking my neck and silmultaneoulsy mowing over the group of child actors waiting in the wings to go on. Fortunately, there are no costume changes in Love Child. There are child actors, however.”
Love Child might be a bit of a whirlwind experience for some audience members. “It’s chaos, certainly,” says Burge, “but it’s organized chaos. Thankfully, our leader, director Nick Sugar, is a genius with this kind of specific, stylized comedy. I think he’s done a fantastic job of helping Damon and me to create clean, sharp moments and clearly defined characters.” Guerrasio agrees that under Sugar’s direction, “the entire rehearsal process has been a really fun ride. Seeing the way Nick puts together “the [musical] numbers” in Love Child with limited means is priceless.”
Sugar is a regular director at The Avenue, which makes a welcome home for a small-cast, densely comedic show like Love Child. As a regional premiere, this show doesn’t (yet) have street recognition, but The Avenue is all the more willing to take a chance on it. “This theatre is the place to see shows that step outside of the norm,” says Guerrasio. “Everyone at The Avenue work so hard to make it an incredible place to work, a place to let your gaurd down and try.” Burge agrees that Love Child fits right into The Avenue’s repertoire. “Theatre owners and producers Bob Wells and Dave Johnson are both well known comedians and artists, themselves, and I think they have a great propensity for finding quirky, little comedies that are still accessible and appealing to the masses.”
In addition, Burge emphasizes that the show will be more than merely appealing to the audience. “Love Child is like a run-away train,” he says. “Once you’re on, you’re on until that train arrives, safely, or crashes and burns. But that’s why people go to live theatre, right? Because anything can happen? And believe me, between Damon and myself, truly anything could happen with Love Child. It’ll be a little 75-minute adventure, every night. So wish us luck!”
For tickets and info, click the poster below.