Consider the one-man show. There are the psychotic rants of Eric Bogosian; the witty, measured monologues of Spalding Gray; Anna Deavere Smith's edgy, historical "docu-performances" and the physical, mime-influenced work of Steven Berkoff. Each of these performers brings a personal element to his or her craft; that's what copyrights the work and makes it unique."My work's more leading-edge, like Lily Tomlin's stuff or Whoopi Goldberg's early stuff. It has a broader appeal," says writer-actor Randall White.
His solo performance Normal had its genesis in a series of major life crises. After leaving the theater world in 1985 to take a management position with a nonprofit, what seemed like a "normal" life eventually slipped into tragedy. White was diagnosed with cancer the same year his partner died of myeloma. Of the 11 characters White portrays during the show's 100 minutes, each is struggling with a personal zero hour.
Normal is a provocative show. "I'm poking at conventional accepted beliefs," White says, "presenting characters slightly askew from the mainstream." One of the characters, a Protestant minister, agonizes over a sermon, knowing it may polarize his congregation. Another talks up alternative therapy techniques even though they're clearly not working for her. White's portrayals of handicapped or ethnic characters make viewers squirm. "I enjoy that part," he says, "when the audience goes through its own angst." 8 p.m. Thursday, March 13; Fridays and Saturdays through March 22; and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 23. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For tickets, call 877-946-9997. $12 to $20. -- Troy Schulze
If you've never seen Bozo Porno Circus perform live, well, you have no idea what you're in for. BPC doesn't just put on concerts; its shows are more like full-scale productions. The band members look like sexy ghouls in scanty leather S&M costumes and makeup, and they're backed up by the PornStarzz -- fire-breathing girls with metal-grinding power tools. Inspired by the flash and glitz of the '70s scene, members Chris O, Ken Gerhard, Ador Charming, Crispyxxx and BamBamm pound their audiences with relentless mechanized rhythms and dark nightmarish themes. Bozo Porno Circus may not be the greatest show on Earth, but it's damn entertaining. 8:30 p.m. Sidecar Pub, 11202 Huffmeister. For tickets, call 281-807-4040. $5 to $10. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman
It's only natural that actress-director Rozanne Curtis chose to include a monologue about auditions in her one-woman show, The Real One Is Booked. During the dramatized casting session, she plays a desperate actress, an airhead, a stage mother, a surfer dude, a director and an older actress whose career is on the decline. In other monologues, she becomes a young girl and a teacher. What inspires Curtis to write and perform is her own life experience. "I was that little girl," she says, "and I teach students, and being an actress, the whole casting scene shows things that have happened to me." 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 14. Ovations, 2536-B Times Boulevard. For information, call 713-541-9542. $15. -- Cathy Matusow
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Laugh of the Irish
You don't have to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by making a fool of yourself at a bar. Try some comedy that doesn't come at your expense. ComedySportz is putting on a Luck o' the Irish Match, a battle of the wits complete with fake Irish accents and lots of pinching for folks who forget to wear green. And the Laff Stop is hosting the Whiskey Brothers St. Patrick's Eve Tent Revival and Snake Oil Sale. The drunken, foul-mouthed Whiskey Brothers will be playing bagpipes and telling jokes about religion, politics and dragon-slaying. ComedySportz: 8 p.m. Friday, March 14. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard. For information, call 713-868-1444. $10 ($8 if you wear green). Laff Stop: 8 p.m. Sunday, March 16. 1952-A West Gray. For tickets, call 713-524-2333. $8.50. -- Cathy Matusow