What if men menstruated?
KEYSTONE – If men had periods, they’d be high-fiving, celebrating their cycles with brewskis, saying their bloated bellies make them feel more like a man and bragging about the size of the tampons they use.
At least according to playwrights Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney in
“Parallel Lives.” The production is one of Lake Dillon Theatre’s weekly summer presentations (along with “Songs for a New World”) at the Park Lane Pavilion.
“Parallel Lives” stars Melanie Bell and Amie Duffy, two visiting actresses from Texas and New York City, respectively, who also shine in “Songs for a New World.” While “Songs for a New World” highlights their singing voices, “Parallel Lives” shows off their versatility through vignettes that portray myriad characters ranging from Catholic children and self-centered teen-agers to downtrodden Texans and supreme beings.
The two-woman show begins with two angels choosing what colors humans should be. They pick yellow, red, brown and white, though they’re a little tentative about white and make a note to watch the white people to make sure they don’t feel “bland.” The angels are almost demonic in their institution of birth – they figure they should “dull the shine” of women having babies so men won’t feel jealous, so they scheme up messy, painful births.
The women transform from supreme beings to self-centered teen-agers in the next scene. Bell plays Kris, a giddy girl with a side ponytail who dates Jeff (Duffy), a Beavis-and-Butt-head-type. The adolescent ramblings and sexual tensions mount as each ignore the others’ glaring defects – all the while, they’re convinced they have an “honest relationship.”
The scene slides into a feminine-hygiene commercial for lilac-spring tampons, then switches into macho men celebrating menstruation.
The vignettes become even more outrageous as the two women portray teen-age girls reading deep insights into the most cliche sayings about love. Then the actresses set another scene showing the contrast between a showy prostitute and a woman who just wants Kenny Rogers to believe she was born with diamond studs in her ears, smooth legs and hair that grows perfectly groomed.
“Parallel Lives” turns crass when the two women walk into a health food store smoking cigarettes and ordering BLT sandwiches (the store only has LT sandwiches) and tuna (which, they learn, endangers dolphins).
The show continues in an over-the-top vein with an especially funny satire on “womyns'” performance art full of golden labias, wet women, witches, tigresses and, of course, sisterhood.
Catholicism doesn’t escape the satire as the scenes revolve around confessing sins, bargaining with God (“Make me not pregnant, and I’ll never have sex without birth control again”) and a new-age shift from Catholic guilt to healing the child within.
The wild women top the show off with a touch of Shakespearean dialogue (complete with sexual puns) and romance between downtrodden Texans. The finale ties up the show with an explosion of accents, ages and mannerisms.
“Parallel Lives” begins at 7:30 p.m. today and runs every Thursday through Aug. 21 at the Park Lane Pavilion in Keystone. Tickets are $12 (plus service charges) and may be purchased by calling (888) 222-9306.
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