Defending the Caveman brings history 

click to enlarge Captain Caveman: Durango-bred actor Cody Lyman.
  • Captain Caveman: Durango-bred actor Cody Lyman.

While the caveman hasn't changed much in, oh, 3 million years, his theatergoing audience has evolved fairly quickly.

"In the prehistoric days of the show, the main groups supporting [it] were marriage-counseling groups," says Cody Lyman, the Colorado native who plays the title role in the traveling production of Defending the Caveman.

Today, the Broadway version stands as the longest-running solo play in history. It has a universal appeal, with most criticism coming from people who haven't seen it. It's just that likable, despite the oft-explored nature of its theme: that there are plenty of differences between men the hunters and women the gatherers.

Originally from Durango, Lyman began his acting career at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. In 2000, he moved to Chicago, and in 2004, he was hired for the touring production of Rob Becker's wildly popular one-man show. As in the Broadway production, which opened in 1995, Lyman takes the stage alone and entertains with equal parts stand-up comedy and introspective monologue.

He highlights the gender differences as though he is talking to a fellow caveman, but in a modern context. For instance: "When a woman says she is going to call, she will call that day, but when a man says he is going to call, he means in his lifetime."

Caveman has been Lyman's longest-standing role, and he says that he's agreed with the play's message from the beginning: that men and women are inherently different and have been since prehistoric days.

But Lyman adds that the play's real message is that cavemen both prehistoric and modern varieties worship women. Caveman relates that the genders are just different, and understanding that leads to understanding of each other.

In that spirit, Lyman says the show has not lost its original crowd of marriage counselors and therapists who actually find it helpful in some counseling sessions.

Note to self: If the best my therapist can do is a reference to Caveman, keep looking ...

Defending the Caveman
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St.
Friday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 23, 5 and 8 p.m.
Tickets: $37, no member discount; for tickets or more information call 634-5583 or visit csfineartscenter.org.


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