After spending most of the week installing Velvet in his first apartment, I took a break from scrubbing and went to see The Secretaries in the New York Fringe Festival.
All the characters are played by women.
Elizabeth Whitney is the one lifting the chain saw. From Left to Right, Elizabeth Bell, Jamie Heinlein, Virginia Baeta and Karen Stanion. In real life, some of these hotties are total lesbians; some are not:
The Secretaries has drawn a healthy audience and has been recognized by The Fringe for Excellence in Ensemble - not just because it features hot women, who may or may not be lesbians, in slinky lingerie, with Chain Saws.
The concept starts with typical gender stereotypes, like basic male/female sexual harassment, and twists them. Susan the office manager fondles the girls at will and demands xeroxes of their naked upper and lower bodies as regular performance reviews. Pushing Fashion Magazine wisdom to extremes, all the secretaries works hard to maintain trim figures by living on Slim-Fast shakes. Peaches, who will be fired if she wears above a size 12, is sent to the bathroom to vomit when Susan sees her eating solid food at lunch.
Although the women are policing each other, they recognize the patriarchal nature of their environment. To achieve a sense of balance the they take generic fears that men have about women and create an absurd nightmare. Every month when The Secretaries are collectively PMS-ing, they drag a boyfriend out to the woods. Wearing outfits from Victoria's Secret, they torture him by forcing him to watch helplessly while they use his cellphone to charge pizza and liquor to his credit card. They each take a turn cutting him up with a chainsaw and covered in his blood, they dance wildly together around the campfire. They aren't killing men because they are man-haters, however, or because of a Feminist Agenda. These girls just want to have fun. As Queen Bee Susan explains to New Girl Patty, "We don't kill them because they're bad. We kill them because we're bad."
I love this show. It's fast paced, sexy, funny and smart - just like all my favorite people. And since the run has been extended, I have an opportunity to work on the production for the September shows.
I'm not sure where this activity will lead since I went to Cowgirl Hall of Fame with the gang after the performance on Sunday, got drunk and told a story about my college boyfriend's wife that qualified as Lesbian Erotica. Most likely, that's the influence of my dear friend Kathleen, who is the one who got me involved with Off-Off Broadway in the first place. She started a Drunken! Careening! Writers! Chrismas tradition of featuring the annual edition of Best Lesbian Erotica every December at KGB Bar. Her partner - who used to be a nun and is now a member of a lesbian motorcycle club called The Sirens - got me to be a marshal for the Gay Pride parade one year. As it happens, The Sirens lead the Parade, and somehow I wound up carrying their banner at the very front of the Gay Pride Parade as it turned onto Christopher Street - home of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 - one gloriously sunny day in June.
The Secretaries captures the same celebratory and subversive spirit.
All for under $20 for four Encore performances in The New York Fringe Festival (TICKETS)
on Twitter @TheSecretaries
on Facebook The Five Lesbian Brothers' "The Secretaries" TOSOS/NYFringe
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