theater (reviews)

review: chlamydia dell’arte — a sex-ed burlesque

Chlamydia dell’Arte: A Sex-Ed Burlesque

Created and Performed by Gigi Naglak & Meghann Williams
Capital Fringe Festival, Balducchino Gypsy Tent Bar
607 New York Avenue, Washington, DC
production web site: http://tinyurl.com/279ccow
July 13, 14, 18, 22, 24,25, 2010

Reviewed by Martha Wade Steketee
July 13, 2010

lights camera action at the Capital Fringe

This piece is traveling the East Coast fringe festivals.  Or I am traveling those festivals.  Or I am traveling and open to Fringe Festivals.  Last year, my first (and it turns out only) year in Philly for the  Live Arts Festival / Philly Fringe (for this year’s Festival/Fringe see http://www.livearts-fringe.org/) , I caught a wide array of shows including this Chlamydia adventure.  I met its creators and performers through a Chicago connection and was immediately entranced by their stage presence.  Their charisma.  Their Kathy and Mo Show-ness.  And a work trip to Washington DC this week allowed me to revisit this well crafted piece of theatre at the 5th Anniversary Capital Fringe Festival.

Video interview segments with women of many ages reflect upon “the sex talk” and “the first time” and “what is sex”.  Video segments also include the stars as late middle age school marms in front of a classroom blackboard doing two versions of Gilda Radner‘s Emily Litella, providing more humor.

And between these bits, Meghann Williams and Gigi Naglak entrance us. We have dance, stand up, and Shakespeare as you’ve never heard it before.  Memories of Barbie play dates.  And we have a puppet show, a puppet character, representing part of a woman’s anatomy with which a female human character carries on an extended and information-rich dialogue on the strengths and weaknesses of different forms of female birth control.  I am having puppet show flashbacks, but in a good way.  Dildos.  Chocolate and whipped cream.  Menstrual staining that leads not to embarrassment but to massive joyous relief.

A reflection of one of the filmed interviewed women: “The most fun you ever have and the most heartbreaking thing you’ve ever done”.  A reflection of one of the filmed school marms: “You can’t do my dishes without rubber gloves.”  Don’t you want to know precisely what they are talking about?  Sex education under a tent.  With beer from the neighboring Fringe Bar, if you are so inspired.   Give it a whirl.

pre-show crowd gathering under the tent at the Capital Fringe

© Martha Wade Steketee (July 14, 2010)

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