'Lagunatics' returns with 20th nutty take on city

Chris Kling admits he didn't know what he was getting himself into when he bought a role in the 20th anniversary of "Lagunatics."

Kling, who has lived in Laguna Beach since 1997, won it at the Lagunatics Gala auction last year.

When founder and artistic director Bree Burgess Rosen called him up and asked if he was artistic in any way, Kling said no.

However, his lack of experience didn't matter to Rosen. Kling assumed he'd be tucked away in the back of numbers. To his surprise, he's cast in seven of the 22 numbers. He plays everything from a bum to a lawn-bowling senior and even dons a dress at one point.

"I actually can't wait to go to rehearsals," Kling, 37, said.

Rosen scoured through the past 20 years of material to pick out the top numbers from each show, which guarantees that locals will get to relive some of their favorite "Lagunatics" moments.

Numbers include parodies on Laguna Beach issues such as light pollution, the homeless, dog clean-up rules, leaf blowers, the Montage Laguna Beach, the Boom Boom Room, meter maids and nudes in the Pageant of the Masters.

"As the nudes happen you can actually hear them pulling them out their binoculars," Rosen said with a chuckle about the Pageant of the Masters.

Without Laguna's passionate population, taking sides on every issue facing the city, it would be hard to put on the play.

"If you don't share their opinion, they're cranky with you," she said of Lagunans. "People get on opposite sides of the subjects. They duke it out. This serves as a palate cleanser I think."

Rosen won't ever run out of material: "This town is too odd," she said.

When asked if the audience ever get offended by the material, Rosen recalled one year's performance.

"One year we were doing (a number on) the ACLU and the homeless," she said. "A woman stood up and said 'I'm not going to stand for this' and ran out of the theater. The audience clapped and thought it was part of the show and loved it."

She said if she had thought of doing it in the show, she would have.

The show is also fun for cast members like Kling, who get to put their day jobs and adult responsibilities aside for a couple hours a night and focus on simply making the audience laugh.

"For the cast, it's recess and grown-ups don't get enough recess," she said.

"Lagunatics" opens Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 28. For more information, visit nosquare.org.


Twitter: @joannaclay

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