By Theresa Goffredo Herald Writer
Humor is hard. Tim Behrens makes it look easy.
Behrens, an actor and miming master, channels the stories of humorist Patrick McManus, taking on the solo task of portraying more than a dozen zany characters — or a bear or a bicycle, whatever it takes — as he leads the audience on a side-splitting sojourn of favorite McManus tales.
“Scrambled McManus” is a compilation of audience favorites selected by Behrens and McManus from the first three McManus comedies: “A Fine and Pleasant Misery,” “McManus in Love” and “Pot Luck.”
The show includes 30 minutes of new material.
“Scrambled McManus” will be presented Saturday at Historic Everett Theatre.
Behrens is a pro at doing this one-man show and he uses his own voice, facial expressions, body language and few props to tell the McManus stories.
Behrens has said he relies on the audience’s imagination to fill in the blanks, and it generally works with amazing results: People leave the theater with overworked laugh muscles and hurting faces.
McManus, a Field and Stream and Outdoor Life columnist, is a humor writer who sets his stories in the fictional town of Blight, Idaho, where McManus grew up so poor, he writes, that his favorite toy was dirt.
In this town lives a crazy batch of characters; Behrens portrays more than 40 of them.
There’s Rancid Crabtree, who eschews baths because soap and water can compromise his protective crust. And 100-year-old Ed, who keeps falling asleep in the middle of telling a story. And there’s a space alien, Zork, and Melba Peachbottom, the prettiest girl around.
The characters and their stories spring from universal themes such as the first date or fear of the dark. Behrens has said that these comedies not only bring laughter but keep the culture going.
The show will be structured as an exploration of questions about the very nature of storytelling itself: What makes a story, what possible purpose does it serve and why have one in the first place, according to press materials.
Behrens will use six stools and his skills to help him answer those questions.
And he’ll also use some favorite McManus stories to get his point across. Those include Old Ed, the 100-year-old camper; The First Date reprise; The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw (a fur-fetched tale!); My First Cannon; The Grasshopper Trap; and The Bike, according to press material.
“Scrambled McManus: A One-Man Stage Show” will be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday at Historic Everett Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett.
Tickets are $20 and $15 for those 17 years and younger. Call 425-258-6766 or go to www.etix.com or in person at the box office.
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; firstname.lastname@example.org.