Pok­ing fun at moder­nity

Whitsunday Times - - CHILL - Daniel McKen­zie

FOR new show iTed E, pup­pet mas­ter David Strass­man didn’t have to look too far left of mod­ern so­ci­ety’s cen­tre for in­spi­ra­tion.

“It’s so the now,” Strass­man told Newscorp of his new show, a satir­i­cal take on tech­nol­ogy-laden lives.

“We’re all stuck on our phones – In­sta­gram, Twit­ter – not in­ter­act­ing with each other. Amer­ica elected an id­iot pres­i­dent be­cause of so­cial me­dia.”

That re­la­tion­ship shared be­tween so­ci­ety and tech­nol­ogy forms the ba­sis of iTed E, which Strass­man de­scribes as his most dif­fi­cult and tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced show yet.

Along for the ride are the sharp-tongued Chuck Wood and Ted E, who have been thrust into the world of so­cial me­dia, re­lin­quish­ing their in­ter­ac­tions with the real world.

“I’m pissed off be­cause Chuck and Teddy are on their phones and I can’t get them off their de­vices,” Strass­man said.

The show is a pro­gres­sion for Strass­man, who has come a long way since per­form­ing as a ven­tril­o­quist at birth­day par­ties as a 14-year-old in his na­tive Cal­i­for­nia.

Craft­ing his show since the early 1990s, Strass­man was the first ven­tril­o­quist do­ing stand-up, af­ter hav­ing to stray from his first ca­reer choice.

“I wanted to be an as­tro­naut but couldn’t do that with drug use in high school,” Strass­man said with a laugh.

Study­ing act­ing at the Amer­i­can Academy of Dra­matic Arts in New York, Strass­man re­turned to ven­tril­o­quism, busk­ing in Cen­tral Park in New York, Le­ices­ter Square, Lon­don and Paris, while grow­ing his act in New York comedy clubs.

“I made my way up to head­liner in the 1980s along­side Jim Car­rey and Ed­die Mur­phy. Those guys were my con­tem­po­raries,” he said.

Fast for­ward to 2017 and iTed E in­tro­duces new tech­nol­ogy, as Strass­man at­tempts to con­nect with his zom­bie-like char­ac­ters, while bring­ing the world’s most ad­vanced pup­petron­ics to life.

Com­bined with cut­ting edge light­ing and pro­duc­tion, Strass­man said his well known pup­pet char­ac­ters would bring

may­hem and the­atrics to the set.

“I’m break­ing the law of physics. I op­er­ate five pup­pets with a hand-held de­vice, that’s never been done in his­tory,” Strass­man said.

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