Les Kurkendaal performs Christmas in Bakersfield this weekend at the Nanaimo Fringe Festival.

Les Kurkendaal performs Christmas in Bakersfield this weekend at the Nanaimo Fringe Festival.

Comedy deals with the in-laws

Christmas in Bakersfield focuses on family issues.

When Les Kurkendaal moved to Los Angeles two decades ago, he thought he would instantly realize his dream of becoming a big time movie star.

“Well, it didn’t work out that way,” Kurkendaal said, laughing. “It didn’t go the way that I planned it but I loved the way that it ended up because I learned how to create my own work and I learned how to write.”

Instead of becoming a movie star, Kurkendaal has gone to become a respected comedian, writer and storyteller, who has travelled the world performing his one-man shows at various fringe festivals.

“I’ve received a lot of great opportunities by travelling and doing different theatre festivals,” Kurkendaal said.

This weekend, Kurkendaal will be performing his one-man comedy, Christmas in Bakersfield at the Nanaimo Fringe Festival.

“I am definitely nervous,” Kurkendaal said about performing in Canada. “But then I’ve done the show in other countries before. I’ve done the show in Ireland and it actually went over very well.”

This is the final weekend of the fringe festival, which features a number of productions including Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Muse, Dancing with Fish, When the Stars are Right and Square.

The premise behind Christmas in Bakersfield is about a white man who brings his black boyfriend to his parent’s place in Bakersfield, Calif.

“Bakersfield is like this totally right-wing conservative city,” Kurkendaal explained. “He brings me home to meet his parents, but he forgets to tell his parents that I am black. The fact that I was another man didn’t affect them, but the fact that I am black man made a difference.”

Although the story involves a homosexual couple, the main message is one that people of all orientations can relate too.

“I’ve done the show in a lot of cities and a lot of places and the fact is, whether it is a gay-themed show or not, it has to do with family…” Kurkendaal said.  “I don’t care where you’re from, everybody has to deal with somebody else’s family and everyone has to deal with in-laws. No matter who you are, the problem is the same.”

Kurkendaal performs Christmas in Bakersfield on Saturday (Aug. 23) at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Nanaimo Museum.

For a schedule, tickets or information on the Nanaimo Fringe Festival, please call Chelsee Damen at 250-668-4693 or visit  www.nanaimofringe.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod


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