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{my lingerie play} 2017: THE CONCERT AND CALL TO ARMS!!!!!!!!! The Final Installation

October 29, 2017

Originally published in Theatre is Easy.

 

By Diana Oh; Directed by Orion Stephanie Johnstone and Diana Oh

Off Off Broadway, Musical 
Ran through 10.28.2017
Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, 224 Waverly Place

 

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE: Diana Oh’s dazzling performance art piece is one part rock concert, one part confessional, and all parts destruction of the patriarchy.

 

As Diana Oh opens her mouth to address the audience for the first time, an audience member’s cell phone begins to ring loudly. All eyes turn to the embarrassed patron who frantically digs through a massive purse. She turns to Diana, red faced and stammering an apology, only to be answered with, "It’s okay. Really! It happens, you’re only human." Oh then turns back to the audience and continues the play. The anxiety caused by this pearl-clutching taboo begins to visibly melt away, as the culprit is received with warmth and understanding. This happy accident lays the foundation of {my lingerie play} 2017: THE CONCERT AND CALL TO ARMS!!!!!!!!! The Final Installation, leaving patrons with the feeling of consideration and respect.

 

The history of Diana Oh’s sexual awakening is revealed through storytelling and music. Evoking Hedwig and the Angry Inch, her personal narrative unfolds through song. The younger, soul-searching tunes are aptly filled with sensuous and wild rock-'n-roll beats; her songs gradually become more musically complex as she matures. Accompanying her on this journey are three very fine musicians playing guitar, drums and bass (Matt Park, Ryan McCurdy, and Rocky Vega respectively), who occasionally contribute their own personal stories and anecdotes. At one point, a stack of cards is brought out and its contents ("Rant Against the Patriarchy") are read as a searing indictment against those who hurt or diminish women and girls. 

 

While some of these elements are staples of underground black box theatre, there are several deeply moving surprises. Holding up a hair buzzer, Oh claims she is "great at shaving heads in case anyone wants to try it." A young woman with a long brown mane raises her hand and is invited on stage. Taking great care, Diana converses with the woman, named Stephanie, a recent graduate who had always wanted to shave her head, but never had the courage. As Stephanie holds the fallen locks in her hands, she weeps openly with joy—as do many who are watching and cheering her on.

 

It is this type of inclusion that elevates {my lingerie play} from a good rock musical to a truly great piece of art. Audience interaction is the beating heart of the production. From kissing an audience volunteer with tenderness and consent, to reliving the harassment and degradation that so many women and minorities feel for simply having the audacity to exist, Oh keeps the audience rapt. However, she's not holding them in the palm of her hand. Instead, she holds their hands, and as one of them squeezes, she squeezes back. The current discussion of sexual violence in the media is not ignored in this show; if anything, the atmosphere is heightened, and there is a sense of immediacy throughout the house. It's impossible not to be moved by this circle of strangers, guided by a dazzling, queer woman of color who holds eye contact at every moment, and helps raise angry, hopeful and united feminist voices into the sky.  

 

({my lingerie play} 2017: THE CONCERT AND CALL TO ARMS!!!!!!!!! The Final Installation played at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, through October 28, 2017. The running time was two hours. Tickets were $40, $20 for artists and $10 for students. For more information visit mylingerieplay.com.)

 

{my lingerie play} 2017: THE CONCERT AND CALL TO ARMS!!!!!!!!! The Final Installation is by Diana Oh. Directed by Orion Stephanie Johnstone and Diana Oh. Set Design is by Carolyn Mraz. Lighting Design is by Kate McGee. Sound Design is by Brendan Aanes.  Production Manager is Ana Mari de Quesada. Production Stage Manager is Jhanaë Bonnick. Music Director is Ryan McCurdy.

The cast/band is Ryan McCurdy (Drums), Diana Oh (Guitar and Vocals), Matt Park (Guitar) and Rocky Vega (Bass).

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