For the vast majority, Olympic glory can only be experienced vicariously. Even so, some cannot help but watch the games with a lingering sorrow for faded athletic aspirations. For persons nursing such regrets, Becky Brunning may prove an inspiration. Bereft of training or experience, the U.K. comedian has launched a bold campaign to qualify for the British gymnastics team at the 2012 London Olympics. Though Brunning has little more than a year to achieve athletic supremacy, the aspiring Olympian possesses a secret weapon: her genes. Being the great-granddaughter of William LeBeau, an Olympic bronze medal gymnast at the 1912 Stockholm games, Brunning has embraced an odd theory of genetic refinement; that is, that latent athleticism in her family's DNA "has progressed" over the last century, allowing her to access skills that have gone untapped by years of lethargic inactivity. To elaborate on her mission and demonstrate her progress, Brunning is bringing her one-woman act to Bryant-Lake Bowl. Using a mixture of standup and storytelling, Brunning aims beyond her comedic premise, examining family legacies and pondering their significance to successive generations. Such themes are universal and should have no trouble connecting—even with those whose Olympic visions will never go beyond a television screen.
Thu., Feb. 3, 7 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 5, 7 p.m., 2011