After the House Lights

Four Humors’ Lolita: A Three Man Show at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Four Humors' Lolita: A Three Man Show. Photo supplied.


Four Humors’ Lolita: A Three Man Show by Four Humors
August 11, 12, 14, 16 – 18, 20 at the Academy at King Edward

An interview with Ryan Lear and Jason Ballweber.

Describe your show in five words.

Three male idiots perform Lolita

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

A one hour stage play by Four Humors,
based on the two and a half hour movie by Stanley Kubrick,
based on the 5 hour screenplay by Vladimir Nabokov,
based on the 300 page novel by Vladimir Nabokov,
as told by three idiots.

Armed only with a vague understanding of Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film Lolita, three idiots are let loose on a stage to perform a story that is much too big and complex for them to ever hope to tell in their lifetimes, let alone an hour. As the clock ticks along, these three idiots (four, including the director) make mistake after mistake trying their best to bring this adaptation of an adaption of an adaption to life. In the end, the four idiots (five, including the adapter) discover bigger truths about themselves and this classic tale that Vanity Fair called “the only convincing love story of our century.”

What is the ‘container’ of the show? How did your three characters get in themselves in the situation of telling the story of Lolita?

Ryan: This show started as a joke 5 years ago outside of The Know Theater in Cincinnati late at night during their Fringe Festival. But that’s how Four Humors’ shows get created; a group of people come together to have a great time and do their best to share that experience with an audience. Once we actually got into creation rehearsals for Lolita, we talked about who these three guys were that were trying to tell this story. While the specifics of who they are is not important in the end product, their view points did shape a lot of decisions we made in the room together while creating. It’s enough to say that they’re three friends who love Kubrick’s movie Lolita.

While Lolita sounds hilarious, it also sounds like the show has a message. What ideas or questions were you interested in exploring through this show?

Jason: As a company we often pose the question “Who gets to tell this story?” We deal in comedy and the audience tends to trust those characters very quickly so it is especially fun to have an unreliable narrator. It lets us delve into his brain and feel the world from his heightened emotional place.

Another question is “What is art?” We don’t know but we like talking about it!

This is your first time at the Edmonton Fringe – why are you excited to bring this show to Edmonton?

We’ve toured various shows to various festivals in the US and Canada, but none of our shows had ever made it into the Edmonton Fringe. Many of our friends raved about this festival (including Paul Strickland of ‘Papa Squat’ and fellow company member Nick Ryan from the Coldharts’ “Edgar Allan”) and we knew it had a great reputation as a great festival, so we applied again this year and got it. We’re very happy to be here, and are having a great time so far.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

You don’t need to know the movie or the book to understand this show. If you’re a fan of either, you’ll perhaps find some moments to appreciate differently, but other than understanding that this a story about a 40 year old man “falling in love” with a 12 year old girl as performed by three men who are idiots, you don’t need to know the source material to laugh along with the show.

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Get your tickets at