Newest Resident Ensemble member, Josiah Laubenstein, makes his Commonweal debut in the hilarious farce Boeing Boeing. We asked him why he enjoys the play so much, and why we as an audience always love to laugh.
When my wife and I lived in South Carolina there was an outdoor farmer’s market throughout the whole year. For a few weeks during the winter the city set up a small, iceskating rink. Up here an iceskating rink would be a place to go and watch some fairly graceful (or at least competent) people do some fairly graceful (or at least competent) things. In South Carolina, among people who had never seen ice outside of a Slushee cup, it was the perfect place for comedy. I haven’t laughed that hard in years. Tears would have frozen on my cheeks if it hadn’t been a balmy 45° out.
While you may look down on me for laughing so hard at people trying their best—and failing spectacularly—to stay upright on a patch of ice, I want you to know I laugh from a place of kinship. I grew up in Phoenix, AZ. Ice is not my friend. Snow isn’t either. I have ice skated twice and skied once and my skiing adventure ended with me running into a 5-year-old girl on a downhill slope. She kept her balance while knocking me flying. My poles and skis arced gracefully and I rolled like a dying bird 30 or so feet down the hill. The little girl skied back up to me to and asked if I was “al-wight.” Everything was fine but my pride. She skied off backwards, the little showoff.
I have a confession: I laugh when people fall down. If they’re hurt, of course I help. But I am a simple man with simple pleasures. And there is no simpler comedy than physical comedy. Youtube is a great source of this. People trying desperately and failing hard. Simple comedy is the best comedy. Farces are truly simple comedy. Boeing Boeing follows the misadventures of Bernard, who has three gorgeous fiancées, each flight attendants on different airlines who are never in town at the same time. When disrupted schedules find them all under the same roof for one madcap weekend, sparks fly!
I performed in Boeing Boeing four years ago. I love it. There is very little better than when actor and audience are unified in the same breath, and in my experience laughter is the easiest way to get there. Laughter brings people together. I am thankful that Boeing Boeing will be my introduction to the Commonweal audience. Profound? Neither am I. Joyful? Willing to laugh? Definitely. I think that’s as good of a “Hello!” as I could have. I can’t wait to see you all soon!