Hip Shot: ‘Bare Breasted Women Sword Fighting’
They say: "A scintillating spectacular, this vaudeville unleashes the feminine mystique in a whirl of petticoats and a dazzling display of strength, swords, and skin. Behold brutal buxom beauties! Take in tantalizing ta-ta titans! Look-don't touch-the titillating, tangoing Bare Breasted Women."
Mike says: I stayed up past my bedtime last night, pondering what Dog & Pony DC's cabaret-cum-cotton-candied-snuff show owes Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. The production felt like a visual and textual celebration of negative female stereotypes: The tough warrior princess vs. the over-sexed, daddy-issue-riddled damsel in distress; the "Amazing Rubber Woman" who can bounce back from (see: rationalize and forgive) countless acts of domestic violence; androgynous and uncivilized Amazons who battle for their mistress' pleasure while hunched over and smeared with chocolate syrup; the beautiful but modestly dressed mute helpers who close the show by playing strip Tango with rapiers instead of playing cards.
After much thought, I've decided the show isn't some fucked reading of Friedan's second-wave feminism. Rather, the allusion in the show description is a signal to paranoid, guilty men like myself that everything is not as it seems. That the entire production, while claiming and appearing to appeal to US, is actually a subtle criticism of our piggery. Hell, maybe it was the drugs that kept me from getting off while the damsel in distress dry-humped the warrior princess' leg. The other men in the audience sure seemed to like it, and looked like goddamn professional leerers from where I was sitting. Or maybe I was reacting to the show's clairvoyant capacity for depicting an amalgamation of what straight men really want from the opposite sex: Magical women who are both whores and virgins; big butch gals with dangerous-looking anatomy and perfectly-proportioned daisies; women programmed to entertain our fantasies, forgive us our every sin, and play mommy when necessary.
In short, the play runs circles around what men want, what women are, and what men are if they really want women as the show presents them.
See it if: You aren't afraid of your own demons (men)/like comedy, breasts, or French accents (women).
Skip it if: You talk to your mother once a day or more (men)/have a significant other with a drooling problem (women).