Fringeworthy

Hip Shot: Men Don’t Listen to Naked Women

Monique Holt implies something rather rude. Photo by Andrew Bossi.

Fort Fringe – Bedroom

Remaining Performances:
Sunday, July 15th, 10:00 PM
July 21st, 11:59 PM
July 22nd, 6:00 PM
July 25th, 9:00 PM
July 28th, 2:45 PM

They say:
A fun combination of storytelling, stand-up, audience interaction, and words to live by: an evaluation of the relations of men and women. Covering the Bible, Shakespeare, fairy tales, habits and everyday occurrences. Who listens and how? Who speaks and how? All shows in ASL with simultaneous English interpretation.

Lindsey's Take: Storytelling has a long history, from lyric poetry to bedtime stories to modern filmmaking. The assumption is that in the majority of cases, stories will be conveyed verbally. Men Don't Listen to Naked Women plays on our basic assumptions of gender through the familiar tales Monique Holt shares, so it's how those stories are told—and the conclusions you draw from them—that make the show interesting.

Holt's expressive features often comical, rapidly changing in mood and direction as she performs scenes from Shakespearean stories and fairy tales in a mix of American Sign Language and physical interpretations of the scene. She has a sense of humor about her observations, which focus on the gendered descriptions we find in everyday life, as well as in the stories we've told for generations.

Holt stands on an empty stage and pulls audience members up to join her in re-enactments of Goldilocks or the parts of Adam and Eve. (The audience  often seemed reticent to answer aloud.) Director and vocal storyteller Tim Chamberlain interprets for the audience, but Holt's movements are so clear that little description is needed. A discussion of ASL plays a small part in the show, but is critical in helping bringing the stories more to life.

Despite the familiar tales throughout the piece, the narrative arch and logical leaps to societal norms and standards represented within those stories are fast and loose. Highlights include a lesson in the etymology of several international signs for women and men. And there are few obscenities sprinkled throughout for good measure. Just like gender isn't the sum total of someone's being, however, the language of this show is important, but not its whole identity.

See it if: An unconventional discussion on gender and communication sounds like a perfect way to spend your afternoon.

Skip it if: You've heard Goldilocks one too many times in your life.

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