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CAVE-IN

1998 Jesuit High School graduate stars in 'Defending the Caveman,' Broadway's longest running solo show
by: Submitted photo, When Isaac Lamb performs

Isaac Lamb has one question for women: Just what is with all the hate?

The 1998 Jesuit High School grad wants to know when it became acceptable for women to call men dogs, pigs or other barnyard names, and why men are no longer surprised at such labels. This is just one of the many subjects that will be touched on when Lamb takes the stage of the Newmark Theatre March 31 through April 4 for Rob Becker's one-man show, 'Defending the Caveman.'

But before getting all bent out of shape, Lamb wants women to know he is only kidding. Sort of.

'At some point, something changed, and it was just acceptable to think of men as the stupid sex,' which he said is not necessarily correct. '(The show) is not an attack on women, it's just a defense of men. It definitely pokes fun at women, but it pokes fun at men, too.'

Like the part in the dialogue that talks about women using 5,000 more words each day than men. Or how women at a party all rush to fill up empty snack bowls together, but men point fingers until one of them finally concedes to refilling when he is unable to come up with a good enough excuse not to be the one to do it.

While the examples are true-to-life and thought-provoking, they are also funny - this is what has helped the comedy become Broadway's longest-running solo show, with more than 7 million people in more than 40 countries attending performances.

Lamb himself has starred in more than 500 presentations of Caveman, and he said even after all this time he has not tired of the humor or audience reaction.

'I would have thought at the beginning that I would have been tired of it by now, but I love that it's so audience-dependent,' he said, noting that 'audiences laugh at different places. It never really feels like the same show to me.

'I could do it for years to come and still feel satisfied by it.'

Sports vs. theater

Chances are good that when Lamb first tried out for 'Pirates of Penzance' as a high school sophomore he never imagined he would be where he is today. In fact, Lamb, who was very involved in sports as a youngster, only went to the audition at Jesuit because his mother kept telling him what a great voice he has and how he should use it for theater. And when he walked into the audition room and saw close to 115 girls and only about 30 guys, he recalled, he decided he liked the odds and threw himself into the theater program.

After getting a small role (what he likes to call 'Pirate No. 37') in that first play, Lamb went on to participate in seven other performances during his high school career. His favorite show during that time was 'Blood Brothers,' but he said he also really liked 'Boys Next Door,' which helped him learn how to really dive into a character.

Once he graduated from high school in 1998, Lamb began studying theater, music and film at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. A little while after graduating with a degree in film production in 2002, Lamb's friend told him about an audition for 'Defending the Caveman.' Lamb said he went to the audition, got called back a couple times and then was given the role. It was, he said, 'about being in the right place at the right time.'

This all happened at the end of 2003, and his first shows were in late winter of 2004.

'Quite a show to mount'

For Lamb, taking control of a show like Caveman was somewhat of a stretch from what he had ever done before. With a background in musical theater, the 56-page one-man show was not something he really had experience with; still, it is something he has enjoyed doing.

'It's quite a show to mount,' Lamb said. 'It's been one of the better experiences of my career.'

Lamb said one of his personal favorite parts in the show is where it touches on the different forms of communication men and women use, which is anchored by the fact that men simply talk less than women. He said he witnessed this situation when he was younger and his dad would come home from work not feeling up to talking, but his mom would be ready to talk to him about everything that was on her mind. Lamb said this is the part of the show that is easiest to relate to, since many times it's not that men don't want to speak to women, they just have run out of words to say.

'The show demonstrates the way our two separate cultures interact with each other,' he said.'

When Lamb isn't speaking about the differences between the sexes, he spends his time tutoring at Five Oaks Middle School and teaching theater with Young People's Theater Project. The Young People's Theater Project is not affiliated with Jesuit High School but is run out of the school, and Lamb said he gets to work with a lot of youngsters from the Beaverton area.

As someone who grew up on what he calls the Beaverton-Portland border, he loves being able to work with and perform in front of his hometown crowd. And when he hits the stage on Saturday night, he said he is looking forward to performing for a group of locals.

'I'm super excited to finally be able to do the show in my home town,' Lamb said.