Loreen Targos of Stir Friday Night
Catch Stir Friday Night at The Revival theater in Hyde Park December 4, 11 & 18. Chicago's only Asian American comedy group continues to entertain with smarts and sass. Meet performer Loreen Targos in our "What's Your Story?" column:
WHAT'S YOUR PERSONAL STORY?
I grew up in Morton Grove IL. My father was Polish American and my mother was born/raised in Taiwan. Studied International Relations in college (U Wisconsin Madison) with a semester abroad in Warsaw Poland. After graduation, I worked on lead poisoning prevention and asthma among tenants in Chicago. My time in college and my work afterwards helped shape my political ideals. I went back to school to study public health and simultaneously started taking improv classes which linked me up with Stir Friday Night where I get to express myself creatively, politically, and culturally in a way that people respond to - a true privilege.
WHAT INSPIRES THE CHARACTERS YOU CREATE WHEN YOU IMPROV?
Sometimes an expression, voice, something within. Other times, particularly when I write, I like to satirically lampoon cultural norms and the people who adhere to them. For example in a show over the summer, I created a sketch with two women - one who embraced her body hair and one who did not. The premise is what go me started but the humanity within each character was what made it interesting enough to put on stage.
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES YOUR CHARACTER FACE TELLING THIS STORY?
Within the context of Stir Friday Night, sure, race can be an obstacle. We want to create universally funny material that resonates with all people and there's a fear that the audience won't recognize something that may be too specifically "Asian" but we've also found that our audiences in Chicago appreciate funny shows regardless of the origins of the cast/cultural material, and they respond to the unique perspectives we're able to offer.
HOW DOES YOUR CHARACTER OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES?
With honesty. I know I aspire to go beyond the surface where our differences are to find things that resonate with human beings.