Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Building on the success of last year's all-female production, The Second City returns to Washington's Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company with a sequel, She the People: The Resistance Continues!.
Director Carly Heffernan is working with a six-member ensemble, four of whom appeared in the previous version, but the topics are new. Now a female political candidate attempts to give a policy speech while others police her every move and action; one woman enacts a shocking literalization of society's love for guns; football cheerleaders decide to raise the consciousness of the fans in the stadium; and a doctor says, while trying to convince a couple to vaccinate their baby, that some diseases may seem extinct but are just looking for an opportunity to returnlike 1990s boy bands. (And a woman in a T. rex costume, accessorized with a hot pink boa, is never out of place.)
Once again, audience participation is part of the show: on press night, a reluctant volunteer went on to win the parody game show "Ovary Reaction." (The premise is that one cast member responds to a situation and others offer suggestions about how the first woman is overreacting.) A second sketcha genuine high-wire actuses audience responses to create absurd conspiracy theories, such as Brad Pitt's alleged connection to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Working closely with Heffernan, performers Carisa Barreca, Katie Caussin, Sayjal Joshi, Alex Bellisle, Kazi Jones and Jo Scott have an instant rapport and the necessary fluidity that allows them to shift from images of female characters in mainstream movies to celebrants of the Rubenesque figure (helped with Sarah Tundermann's projections) and a squad of women Marines about to go bar-hopping. And who doesn't love a group of performers with the chutzpah to poll the audience members on their most pressing political concerns, then leave a voicemail on the topic for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi?
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company