"Irregardless" means not without regard, meaning that it is not a proper word at all and if you use it in speech you deserve to be attacked with a giant red pen. Stacey Hallal is not one of those who should be attacked, because she is smart enough to lament the grammatical failings of a world that agreed to put that non-word in the dictionary. So, she named her new one woman show after it.
I caught the world premiere of Irregardless at Curious Comedy Theater last weekend, in a double header with the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company. Hallal is a woman who tries on many hats: Irregardless incorporates standup, character monologues, pantomime, video shorts, audio recordings, live music and dance. Some of these hats fit Hallal better than others—her standup is clever and sardonic, like her list of rejected tramp stamps, but her talent is best showcased in characters like Siberous, the singer-songwriter who is deemed "too dark" for the Lilith Fair.
It is undeniable that Hallal is sharp, irreverent and a bit nerdy, with great comedic range, but what sets this show apart are the moments of fragile sincerity embedded in the jokes. A blasphemous retelling of the story of Moses and the 10 Commandments is followed by Hallal's story of the time she had a moment of divine epiphany while floating in Lake Michigan. The revelation? To experience joy, and bring joy to others. Irregardless of whether that truth came from god or some really good drugs, this show is a sure sign that Hallal is living it well.
Catch the show at Curious Comedy Theater, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Fe b 25, $12-15
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!