After moving to the Twin Cities last year, actor and writer Thomas Ward was just trying to get his name out to local theaters. Now, he presents his two-hander International Falls at the Bryant-Lake Bowl with a Lifetime Ivey Award winner at the helm. Jungle founder Bain Boehlke directs Ward, who will perform in the show with his wife, Sherry. In the play, which debuted last year in Texas and has gone on to be presented in Oregon, Ward plays a burned-out standup comic who finds himself onstage in the titular city. The setting — if not the one-night stand plot — is drawn from Ward's own experiences as a standup comic in the early 2000s. "The isolation of International Falls is a perfect setting for what standup performers feel on the road," Ward says. Connecting with Boehlke was a happy accident for Ward, who was visiting the Jungle and chatting with the director about his own work. "He grew up near there, so Sherry and I set up a time to read him the play. We read it and he loved it. He walked us over that night to show us the space at the Bryant-Lake Bowl," Ward says. The play pokes and prods not just at the relationship between the comic and the hotel clerk interested in taking the plunge into performing, but the very nature of comedy itself. "It's a cliché that comedy comes from pain. I wanted to test that out and explore the idea," Ward says.
Mondays, Thursdays-Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: May 31. Continues through June 9, 2013