The last time Jim Loucks performed at Piccolo Spoleto was in 2017 with his one-man show The Biscuiteater, a show broadly based about his grandfather, centering around the day he shot someone in the line of duty as a police officer. Having to sit with that guilt that he felt after the shooting.
“Alongside that is the relationship with his young grandson who has a lot of self-esteem issues, and he’s coming from a kind of tough home environment,” Loucks said.
He’s now bringing his new solo show, Booger Red, to Piccolo Spoleto. He said he feels excited and ready to perform at the Threshold Repertory Theater.
“I’m looking forward to it. I love Charleston,” Loucks said, “It’s such a great city.”
He said that he was supposed to perform back in 2020, but due to the pandemic that couldn’t happen. So he said he’s excited to come back now.
He now has written a new one-man show — Booger Red. It centers around his father.
The show is about analyzing the father’s “journey of coming out of the home environment and becoming a hellfire and brimstone Southern Baptist preacher,” Loucks said.
At the same time, it looks at the fathers son, Loucks, who isn’t necessarily religious and what brings him to being a performer.
Upbringing influenced his writing
Loucks said his upbringing in south Georgia influenced his writing. He wants to bring humor mixed with sensitivity to the stage. He remembers putting on skits at a very young age and being heavily influenced by Bugs Bunny.
Now he’s performing solo shows, having to memorize 30 pages of script. Along with that he works with Shannon Moses on his singing and vocals, and pulls together a hour-long show.
He preps for his shows with his team, including his wife Deb. They have a theater in California called The Electric Lodge in which they create all of their shows. Loucks said he has a great support system to help make all of his shows happen.
This also included his director, Lisa Chess. She directed The Biscuiteater and is now directing Booger Red. She has also been an actor and acting instructor for more than 10 years. Loucks described her as a “great director,” adding that they’ve worked together a long time.
She and Loucks met in 2014 at the Austin Fringe Festival.
“I told the curator of the Fringe Festival, I’m from Venice, California,” Chess said. “And I will probably go back there at some point. The curator said, ‘Oh, we have a couple that’s from Venice, California, and they’re here with their show, Deb and Jim Loucks.’”
Six months later, Loucks was developing The Biscuiteater and was looking for a director.
“So you know I said well, maybe I could see a piece of it and see if you like what I say during that meeting and if it seems like a match, maybe we will work together,” Chess said.
“And indeed it was a match,” Chess said. They’ve worked together ever since.
Chess describes Booger Red as “an adult child’s homage to his father.” She described him as an authentic writer and an emotionally available actor. She’s sure the performance will be great for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
IF YOU PLAN TO GO: Shows are 7 p.m. on June 2 and June 4; 6 p.m., June 3. Tickets are $15 and available at CityPaperTickets.com Location: Threshold Repertory Theater, 84 ½ Society St.
Aiyana Hardy is an arts journalism master’s degree student at Syracuse University.
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