Short-Term Solution a must-see
 

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posted Friday, February 4, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 05

Short-Term Solution a must-see
by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem
Richard Hugo House
Through February 4


Laughter is a proven remedy for pain, and other health conditions. In particular, belly laughs promote cleansing breathing and a lightening of the mood, as well as distraction and endorphin support. What people find funny, though, is completely unique to each. David Schmader reports how important humor has been to his life in his new biographical show, A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem, now at Hugo House.

Schmader describes how humor and geeky movies by people like David Lynch got him through some enormous difficulties growing up in Texas, being teased for not liking sports and liking theater, being called 'Gay' at an age when he hadn't even figured that out yet. He also describes how, after his HIV-positive diagnosis a decade ago of being HIV-positive, humor was so important that the search for immersion in it was more important than connections to friends and family.

Each of Schmader's solo shows has been an exploration into aspects of his life. He confesses, here, though that this exploration was the hardest so far, because he had to recognize and acknowledge his inner demons, a chorus of haters who made fun of him for knowing better about how to avoid HIV and getting sick anyway. It would make anyone want to drown them out!

This trip is interwoven with examples - horridly funny examples - of what Schmader describes as 'found humor': videos where the subject is not supposed to be funny, which makes it funnier than some planned humor. Luckily, we get to see those examples on video to get a taste of what he means. He starts us off with the video 'Beyoncé Clown' (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePNWCniwgfo), which has been watched over 7 million times on YouTube. Schmader says millions of those hits were his own.

If you've never seen 'Beyoncé Clown,' it's a fascinating moment where a woman and her almost unseen friend videotape themselves doing some of Beyoncé's 'All the Single Ladies' choreography, but she puts on a clown mask first, and ends up hitting her head. It's awful, it's funny, and it's awfully funny.

Anyway, it's part of the journey, along with a sweet introduction to his husband, Jake, whom he met just prior to getting the diagnosis, after which Jake had the chance to run away and didn't. Fortunately, Jake apparently has a very similar sense of humor, making their bond unshakeable.

Schmader's show is a compact 90 minutes, and he's developed a keen sense of theatricalizing his autobiography with the help of keen-eyed director Matthew Richter, who made sure that Schmader stayed away from soppy sorrow and kept the pacing brisk and bracing. There are lessons to be learned, and sadnesses to be mined, but Schmader keeps us all laughing at most of it, while the audience helps him realize that he's able to leave it all behind him.

Get yourself to Hugo House ASAP to hear Schmader's journey, laugh with him, and remind yourself how glad we can be that fewer and fewer young people have to go through what he did (and what you probably did) just to be yourself.

For more information, go to hugohouse.org/content/short-term-solution-long-term-problem or call 206-322-7030.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com.



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