Celebrate the absurd with ‘Onion de Mayo’

John D'Alonzo and David Stanger of "Onion de Mayo" were in the IRC's 2012 FringeArts show, "Ivona, Princess of Burgundia." Credit: Johanna Austin
John D’Alonzo and David Stanger of “Onion de Mayo” were in the IRC’s 2012 FringeArts show, “Ivona, Princess of Burgundia.”
Credit: Johanna Austin

“Seinfeld” fans might recall the episode where Kramer is tasked with portraying a gonorrhea-riddled patient in front of a group of medical students. The character took some liberties with his role, but in real life there are behind-the-scenes folks writing out detailed scripts to guide mock patients through faking a convincing illness. Around here, that person is Tina Brock.

Brock is a case developer with the National Board of Medical Examiners. She’s also, perhaps fittingly, co-founder of the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, a theater company devoted to Theater of the Absurd with the tagline: “We bring good nothingness to life.”

The IRC is collecting cash for their fall FringeArts show with a boozy fundraiser that brings the beloved satire mag The Onion to life. The event, “Onion de Mayo,” is this Sunday — Cinco de Mayo — at L’Etage, the bar above Beau Monde. Brock recruited some of the “patients” she knows from her day job to read selections from the Commentary section of The Onion. One recent entry: “I’ve Been Having Some Pretty F—ed-Up Bread Thoughts Lately, By A Duck.”

But they’re not all that absurd, Brock says.

“About 10 years ago, a bunch of us were experimenting with what happens when you take written editorial information and try to make it dramatic. Try to put it on its feet,” she says. “We looked at the Commentary section — there’s a lot of ‘real’ people in there, like Obama, just ranting and raving. It played really well. We were howling.”

By “real people,” Brock doesn’t mean the POTUS is actually using a satirical, irreverent online publication as a sounding board. But The Onion writers have no problem guessing what he might say if he did. Fortunately for Brock, they agreed to let her use their work in the show.

“For the most part it’s pretty ridiculous stuff. Some go father than others in terms of how offensive they are,” she says. “We go through and select ones we think are relevant and timely.”

But the quest for timeliness doesn’t trump everything. “One of the commentaries last week was about the Boston Marathon, and it just wasn’t suitable for this show,” Brock says. “It was too close.”


If you go

“Onion de Mayo
Sunday, 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
L’Etage, 624 S. Sixth St. (side entrance – second floor)
$10-$20
www.idiopathicridiculopathyconsortium.org


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