Brain Drain 

An ironic salute to our addiction to stuff

Maximun Brain Squad presents
A Day That Will Live in Industry!
Thurs., Jan. 17, 9:30 p.m.; $8; Charleston Ballet Theatre;
www.myspace.com/brainsquadcomedy

Uncle Sam is under attack. Standing tall with his striped hat and Abe Lincoln beard, he's beset on all sides by dark, evil wraiths with logos 'round their necks. The wraiths are corporations: IT giants, pile-it-high retail outlets, fast food fiends. Uncle Sam becomes the ghouls' horrified puppet.

This is Maximum Brain Squad's one-hour production, A Day That Will Live in Industry! As the dark humor of the Sam-bashing suggests, it's not your regular Saturday night sketch show. While goofy characters and hit-and-run gags abound, a strong political thread gives it extra depth and merit.

The Squad are perfectly placed to understand and comment on the commercial pressures placed on today's youth. The average age of the group (Henry Riggs, Amanda Lester, Gray Robbins, Andy Livengood, and Chris Drake) is 22.4. They love their iPods and digital whatnots as much as anyone. But is the amassing of gadgetry worth selling Uncle Sam down the river?

Therein lies the crux of the show.

"America's becoming lazy," Riggs says.

They see our nation as descending on a slippery slope of apathy, sloth, and an over-reliance on machinery. Their show depicts a world one sidestep from our own where everything's for sale and Apple products are the juiciest of forbidden fruit, lusted after by thoughtless characters who fail to empathize with their fellow human beings. The Squad addresses their concerns by savaging an era in which "we're becoming blind to actual human contact."

Perhaps Uncle Sam isn't doomed after all.

2008 Charleston Comedy Festival

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