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Book Club Fri Nov 13 2015

You're Being Ridiculous Anniversary Show and Q&A

yourebeingridiculous.jpgThe live lit show You're Being Ridiculous will celebrate its fifth anniversary with three knockout shows on November 21, November 28, and December 5 at the Mayne Stage (1328 W. North Avenue). The shows will feature true stories performed by Megan Stielstra, Carly Oishi, Keith Ecker, and many others. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

We talked to founder and performer Jeremy Owens via email to find out more about the past, present, and future of the show.

In a few weeks, you'll be celebrating the fifth anniversary of You're Being Ridiculous. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the show, and what makes this anniversary so special?
I started the show in 2010. I really did think that it would be a one-time thing. I organized the first show because I was turning 35 and I thought, I have this MFA, why not put it to work by having a really good time with friends telling funny stories? That first night really was me begging friends to participate. There was no storytelling community as it exists now. Today there's a community of people that has grown up around us and that's super exciting. Thinking about how we've grown from rehearsing in the basement of Gorilla Tango [Theater] to performing at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park is mind blowing for me.

How has the show morphed since its genesis five years ago?
Originally we had three shows with the same cast. We now have three completely different shows for each of the nights we perform. I've gone from organizing six people for a run of shows to directing 20 or more. It's definitely a little crazy-making, but I love it.

How do you choose which writers to perform? What kind of information do you take into consideration when you put together the order of performers?
We take submissions for each show. Once the deadline has passed I put a panel of judges together. We have a sort of Live Lit American Idol situation. We read each of the stories out loud and vote on our favorites. It's kinda intense. It's usually an all day affair with a lot of food and plenty of bourbon. As far as the order of each show goes, I try to give the show a nice flow, so that the audience has a good time. That's really the most important piece for me. I want the show to be fun and flow well. For this anniversary show we did what we always try to do, which is to just pick the very best stories that fit our theme. Of course, within all of this, I try to keep the show as diverse as possible.

Tell us about one of the performers you're especially excited to see live.
I can't possibly pick just one! I'm really excited about each of the performers. Many of the performers are friends of mine and I'm always excited to see friends--people that I love and adore--do amazing and new things. There are also a couple of performers that I've never seen perform. I'll just say that I've read all of the stories, so I know what's coming. The stories are awesome and the show is going to be kick ass.

What's next for You're Being Ridiculous?
We're back at Fillet of Solo in January, which we're thrilled about. We'll be performing the musical version of our show. Then we're at Mayne Stage in February and at Davenport's in May (with another musical show). In June we have a LGBTQIA PRIDE show at Women & Children First, in August we'll be at Mary's Attic, and in November we'll be back at Mayne Stage. 2016 is busy and we're very excited. Anyone interested in performing with us should check out our website for show dates and submission deadlines.

What advice would you have for performers who might be interested in submitting to your show?
Come see the show and you'll get a good idea of what we're looking for. Then come talk to me. I love this work and enjoy talking about it.

Again, the shows will run on November 21, November 28, and December 5. Doors open at 6:30 and the shows start at 7:30. Tickets can be purchased here.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Owens.

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