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Review Sun Nov 29 2009

Review: The D-Cup Diatribes @ Gorilla Tango Theatre

The strongest character in Melody Swink's play, a series of monologues performed by Sara Tode, is Penny -- an 11 year old who relates the embarrassing tale of misplacing a set of falsies on a bench during gym class where they are mistaken by her coach to be ice packs; he then puts them in a freezer and uses them to soothe a headache.

Swink uses captivating black and white footage of women being fitted for and modeling bras as an introduction to her piece, accompanied by "The D-Cups Theme Song," written and performed by Swink; the audience is then introduced to the first of seven characters portrayed by Tode.

About halfway through the show I found myself getting confused as to which character was on stage, and the program didn't help -- someone made the curious choice of listing the characters in order of age rather than appearance, forcing me to read through the entire list in an exercise of elimination.

Tode performed each monologue in the same black pants and shirt, differentiating between each character by wearing a different bra on the exterior of her clothing. This worked fine until one of her portrayals came back for a second appearance in a different bra, and me with my program, well... it took me a while to catch up to what was happening on stage.

Aside from Penny, whose story resonated as a real-life experience, the remaining monologues came across like sketch outlines of characters that had yet to be, um, fully developed. I was distracted by the accent employed for Horska, a retired Romanian model who for some reason spoke like Natasha of Rocky & Bullwinkle fame; and felt a little squirmy when Tode walked on stage wearing a stuffed 42E brassiere to portray an African-American woman named Odessa.

This is Swink's first play, and she deserves kudos for her efforts. What I wish for this piece is rather than have one woman attempt to portray the experiences of many, that we actually hear from different women about their individual experiences. I couldn't help thinking back to a performance of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues that I saw years ago, and drawing parallels. What made the stories in The Vagina Monologues resonate so, um, deeply was that they were real stories from real women, and no amount of characterization can replicate that.

The D-Cup Diatribes shows at 8pm Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays December 10-19. Tickets are $20. For information about the show visit The D-Cup Diatribes. For tickets and information call 773-598-4549 or visit Gorilla Tango Theatre

 
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Laz / December 2, 2009 3:58 PM

Review: D-Cup Diatribes. Five Stars. Script involves Complex character development embodying many layers of insight into a woman's thinking and body image. Upbeat and endearing musical numbers enhance the show. The actress exemplified depth, talent and fortitude in her portrayal of many different characters. Cute costumes were a perfect compliment. I agree, the playright Melody Swink deserves kudos and well wishes for bringing her first play to life. Bravo on a great accomplishment by all who were involved.

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