The concept of a family-friendly comedy apparently isnt very popular anymore. Just ask Arnold Richie, artistic director of Upstage Theatre. This year he decided he wanted to showcase local playwriting talent, but when he threw down the gauntlet and asked for family-friendly comedy submissions, he only got 20 scripts. They just werent used to writing that kind of material, reasons Richie. Still, he managed to find four promising one-acts in the pile for the 1st Annual Festival of Comedy at Upstage Theatre. The list includes Carl Williamss Regular People. Its about a dysfunctional family making a court-ordered visit to the psychologist. By the time they leave, the psychologist needs a psychologist, says Richie. Lauren Tunnells Lottery Pool is the story of what happens when the office lottery pool wins but the boss isnt included. Elaine Edstroms Surprise! features a womanizing young man who gets the shock of his life when he hits on a woman in his dads office. And rounding out the foursome is Jim Bains Shadow Person, which focuses on an ordinary guy who sees shadow people. With the help of his psychologist, he tries to overcome his fears, including his shyness with women. Dysfunction, money issues, sexual liaisons and psychological problems hows that for some American family fun? 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through August 21. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights. For information, call 713-838-7191 or visit www.upstagetheatre.org. $10.
Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: Aug. 6. Continues through Aug. 28, 2010