By Daniel Langhorne, Special to the Independent
NextDoor meanness, puzzling sculptures, and the city’s smart parking app were among the targets for lampooning at the 27th annual Lagunatics show entitled “Shticks & Shtones.”
Bree Burgess Rosen, founding director of No Square Theatre, didn’t spare her friend Mo Honarkar, founder and president of the Laguna Beach Company, from being roasted in a “Mo Town” skit that spoofed his rash of real estate acquisitions and development proposals. Musical theater actors proclaimed that there “ain’t no building high enough” for Honarkar, who was in attendance and even jumped out of his front-row seat to dance with one of the glittering showgirls.
“We did feel the weight of responsibility to try to defuse some of the nastiness,” Rosen said. “It’s a fine line between scolding people and making them laugh. We made the decision to try to push people to behave better.”
Lagunatics comically captured the often argumentative nature of the Village in its opening number, “Hell,” based on the song “Belle” from Disney’s Beauty & The Beast.
Opening night dignitaries included Mayor Bob Whalen and School Board member Dee Perry. Whalen seemed amused by the Lagunatics roast of Councilmember Peter Blake as “The Big Noise from Laguna.”
A self-described army brat, Rosen said she co-wrote but ultimately decided not to perform a skit about the nationally-publicized scandal over Laguna Beach’s star-and-stripe emblazoned police cars. Rosen said it was difficult for her to find humor in that controversy.
“It was disheartening to see people I know and otherwise love get so nasty about that,” she said.
At the end of the night, Rosen took to the stage wearing a pair of goat horns in a rhyming plea for fellow residents to remember Lagunatics’ humor before they sit behind a keyboard or speak at a microphone.
“Just try to find the silly before you find the, ‘screw you,’” she said. “I have very strong convictions and I’m a screaming liberal. It doesn’t help to vilify your neighbor.”
Lagunatics runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night through Oct. 27. On the closing night, there will be a gala party featuring food, a martini bar, wine, and silent auction. Snacks and beverages are available at all other performances as well.
Tickets, available at nosquare.org, are $45 for regular performances at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20. Tickets for the closing gala at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27, are $100.The theatre is located at 384 Legion Street. Parking is free at Laguna Beach High School.