Opening Nights: Beaumount and Caswell

Teatro ZinZanni's version of The Lockhorns.

A Teatro ZinZanni veteran who has appeared in more than 20 of the company's shows, both here and in San Francisco, Kevin Kent has no qualms about making an ass of himself—or others. In the newest TZZ production, Kent is impulsive, martini-swilling Cliff Caswell, a man still madly in love with his hot-tempered ex-wife Vivian Beaumount, played by Christine Deaver (a Los Angeles actress as loud, brash, and outrageous, if not more, than her co-star). The shit really hits the fan when Caswell proposes to Beaumount for the fourth time—or sixth, he can't really remember—only to be denied. In TZZ tradition, performances by international circus acts fill out the show, including Parisian acrobatic trio Les Petits Frères and Ukrainian contortionist Vita Radionova. And Chicago blues singer Francine Reed provides a sassy live soundtrack. But the storyline focuses on Caswell and Beaumount—and, more than usual, on the audience.That's because the duo spend a majority of the evening attempting to royally piss each other off. How? By hitting on as many audience members as possible in an attempt to make the other jealous. An unsuspecting 20-something named Brandon became one of the biggest jokes, er, stars, of a recent performance. "Thanks for dressing up," Beaumount remarked as she pulled him from his seat and gave his white T-shirt and jeans a once-over. "Did you make a stop at Home Depot on your way here?" After making sure her ex was watching, she planted a firm kiss on Brandon's lips, causing Caswell to fly at him in a fit of fury. The victim looked somewhere between amused and horrified—which Kent and Deaver understand is far funnier than somebody who's 100 percent willing. Bashful audience members beware; avoiding eye contact will not protect you.

 
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