Monday, March 13, 2006

The Body Outlaws (Red Hen Theatre)

‘THE BODY OUTLAWS’ investigated by Red Hen

Theatres are founded for various reasons. The mission of RED HEN is to give a voice to feminist writers and feminist themes. You do not go to one of their performances to see or hear a neutral view of the world. Their staging of ‘BODY OUTLAWS’ won’t disappoint their loyal following.

The staged reading is based on Ophira Edut’s collection of essays in which women discuss their bodies and the cultural views of women’s shapes and forms. It exposes advertisers, toy manufacturers and various others who shape societal attitudes of what women should look like and be. Segments include “The Butt: Its Politics, Its Profanity, Its Power,” “The Skinny on Small,” “Klaus Barbie, and Other Dolls I’d Like to See,” and “Memories of a (Sorta) Ex-Shaver.”

The staging and performances were generally fine. Rose Leininger’s “Sizing Myself Up: Tales of a Plus-Size Model,” the last piece of the evening, was outstanding. She is a fine actress and this selection is highly emotionally involving.

Capsule judgment: The evening is long! Ten pieces at ten to 15 minutes proved to be too much. Especially long when the seats are stiff and unpadded and the performance space very, very cold.