Fringeworthy

Hip Shot: That Kind of Girl

original (2)Gearbox

Remaining performances:

Sunday, July 13 at 12:15 p.m.

Saturday, July 19 at 5:15 p.m.

Thursday, July 24 at 10 p.m.

Saturday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.

They say: That Kind of Girl celebrates and explores the vast definition of being female through an upbeat variety of sketch, poetry, dance and more. Pulling from personal experience, interviews and research, a group of young women tell their stories and dissect the kinds of girl society accepts and rejects.

Ryan's take:

From the PussyREP manifesto (via Facebook):

We will not tread lightly

We will not fold ourselves small,

into crooked shapes to take up less space

We will not come quietly in the night

Rather we will sally forth, terrific and terrible

Unafraid and unapologetic for our

scars, our flesh, or what lies between our legs

That is our promise.

Working, fucking and playing

When (and if) we choose to

For nothing defines us

But the words on our lips

and the fire in our hearts.

Oh, to have that kind of fire!

Before we begin in earnest, allow me to check my privilege. Here we go: white, English-speaking, kinda-sorta-barely middle-class 33-year-old cis male attempting to review a devised ensemble piece largely about the gauntlet of sexual menace women face every day from people a lot like myself. Woo doggy.

In my heart of hearts, shows like That Kind of Girl are what Fringe festivals are all about. The sheer daring to create new, hyper-personal and political work means so much more to me than the endless parade of Macbeths and Antigoni. So know that when I say That Kind of Girl is super college-y, I mean that in the best, least patronizing sense of the term. It’s full of the passion and verve of youth, with that old fashioned put-on-a-show energy that results in the publishing of fuck-yeah mission statement manifestos like the one above.

TKOG is a series of sketches, confessionals and movement pieces loosely devised around the theme of female empowerment. The night starts with a trigger warning about the show’s content, a recent trend in academia and the arts that shows no sign of slowing down. In this case, PussyREP uses the notion to create a safe space to discuss personally intense subjects like, gender identity, eating disorders, and rape.

But this is no downer polemic: PussyREP brings plenty of wit, charm and an infectiously anarchic spirt to the proceedings. As is the often the nature of its group-devised pieces, the quality of the bits is all over the map. A paen to feminist ancestors is a highlight, as is a menstruation gag with an elaborate set up. Nadia Mohebhan brings surprising humanity to a character called “The Patriarchy.” Little technical details like tough to work with props and ill-timed lighting cues need to be worked out. An out-of-tune ukulele was a blessing in disguise, providing cherubic Riley Bartlebaugh an opening for the night’s most charming ad-lib.

I’ve been fringing (as a journalist, producer, and audience member) for nine years now and TKOG is the first show I’ve seen that really feels like something from a new generation. Fueled by a passion for social justice that seems to come naturally to younger Millennial-types, PussyREP gives confidence that the future of DC theater is in good hands.

See it if: You believe, as I do, that Fringe festivals are for new work, new politics, and new ideas.

Skip it if: You often find yourself using the phrase “Not all men!” in day-to-day conversation. Scratch that, you’re the exact person who should see this show. Buy a ticket, sit down, and LISTEN for once.

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