Friday evening, Harper’s Other Dad and I went to see a local production of Chicks With Dicks . Trista Baldwin’s play is a parody of, among other things, the cult-classic Russ Meyer film, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. The advertising for every production of “Chicks…” I found on the internet included some variation of the phrase;
“Fightin’! Punchin’! Face-kickin’! Throat-stabbin’! Ass-whuppin’! Mud-wrasslin’! girl-gang, great-American-highway biker epic is like an estrogen-packed, skull-splitting mosh-pit on steroids!
That’s as good a synopsis as any.
But did I like it? Where do I begin….? How about with the trailer… and how can you not love a small local theater group that produces a trailer?
The play is loud. There is much shouting on stage. Also the play has a cult following among the local university community. Many in the audience, mostly women, came dressed as characters in the play and the girls were a-hootin’ & a-hollerin’! At times, this made it hard to hear the dialog. It also made the audience a part of the action. There is no ‘4th wall’ in this play.
The play is camp. There are three women dressed as strippers who work the crowd before the show. This includes any excuse the move down the rows to position their cleavage or scantily clad bottoms in close enough proximity to the face of an audience member to justify a giggly, “oops, oh, excuse me”. Once the show begins the strippers become pole dancers, on raised platforms on either side of the stage where they act as a Greek chorus for what’s taking place. At times, this includes holding up signs telling the audience to “Cheer!” or “Boo!”. Between scenes they dance.
Most of the characters are members of rival motorcycle gangs. The motorcycles are handlebar-like pipes with a plastic attachments intended to look like gas tanks. They grab their handles, throw their leg over the imaginary seat and roar off stage. Picture the horses in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, only with actors saying “Vroom-vroom” instead of using coconut shells. It sounds cheesy, and it is. It is also funny.
The action is set in a small town which is the home of a nuclear; pronounced as a two syllable word, ‘new – cleer’; power plant. Growing up in the shadow of a nuclear plant is a plot point. Other productions I found on the internet set it in whatever nearby town hosts their nearest nuclear facility. It gives the play a local feel. It is also the closest thing to verisimilitude in the entire production.
One might think all that is enough for an evening of theater but wait, there’s more! Fabulous Parting Gifts! This play came with its own coloring book.
That’s right friends and neighbors, a genuine “Chicks with Dicks” coloring book. As you can see, I’ve begun to color mine already.
There were a couple of surprises in the production. For some reason, I expected a play called “Chicks with Dicks” to include men dressed as women. There were none. All the female parts (uh hmm) were played by women.
I was also surprised how embarrassed I was by the title. Before the show I checked in on Facebook, as is my wont at such times. I wrote that I was at the Stray Cat Theater and that prior to that evening, the most embarrassingly titled production I’d ever attended was Urinetown and that a new bench mark was being established. I never typed the name of the play. But that was Facebook. I have no such embarrassment in the blogosphere.
We invited some friends to join us for this theater outing. They all sent regrets. That’s too bad really. I think they missed out on some fun. Is it great art? OMG, no. Is it great theater? Not really. But is it great fun? You betcha!
It’s a loud, campy, parody with a Greek Chorus of pole dancers and fabulous parting gifts. What’s not to like?