My Theatre Experience

I’m going to take a bit of a break from my usual makeup and beauty blogging for a second to discuss a play I saw Wednesday night with my classmates. We went to The Rachel Browne Theatre and saw Proud, by Michael Healey.

Now, I don’t believe I have seen a play since junior high school unless you count the musical theatre productions I was in myself, in high school. Yes, I was type casted as a gossipy cheerleader in Grease, and a young, bubbly little girl named Angel in another production. I like to think that I was chosen because both of these roles required elements of dance, but again, it could also have been because nobody could believe I had even a speck of anything dark under my seemingly innocent persona.

Speaking of clichés.

This political satire based on Stephen Harper, played by a talented Ross McMillan was anything but dry like I admittedly anticipated, but I still have a mixed pot of feelings toward it. Member of Parliament, Jisbelle Lyth, played by Daria Puttaert, was the tiresome epitome of the female sexpot working in the man’s world of politics. Although entertained, I couldn’t help but scoff a bit at this character’s almost lazy portrayal of females in today’s working world.

Let me explain.

Jisbelle busts into the first scene, scantly clad, and begging the Prime Minister of Canada to give her condoms. Yes, that actually happened. Carelessly spewing profanity and oozing sexuality all over the stage, she explains nonchalantly how she’s about to have sex with another member of parliament, right on the desk in her office (Evan Solomon), as she wants to be safe. The Prime Minister acts horrified and demands that she resign from the caucus. She doesn’t understand why, he did tell her to come to him with anything she needed, after all.

After she refuses to follow the Prime Minister’s demands to resign, this sexual prowess is then used as any token tart would be, the shiny little object used to distract media. Thrown into an abortion scam, Jisbelle’s new duty is to campaign for “pro-life,” despite having had two abortions.

The relationship between Jisbelle and the Prime Minister unfolds as she lays her advances on thick and her quirky antics quickly lose their charm. As the awkward sexual tension hangs in the air, we get to a juicy scene filled with whiskey and refreshingly open dialogue on why he became Prime Minister. We are informed that he does not care about Quebec, gay marriage, or anything he’s supposed to care about as Stephen Harper. All he wanted was to do was create an appropriately sized government. Was that so hard?

The scene was overall quite interesting, but cluttered with unnecessary sexuality, only amplifying this temptresses tacky need for gratification. She swigs her booze and demands that he looks at her breasts and scolds him when he doesn’t want to sleep with her. How could it possibly be that he didn’t want her as a sexual object?

A lot of good content did exist in the play and the talkback session at the end gave some interesting insight as to how the actors felt about the characters they played. Ross McMillan said he didn’t identify with Harper at all in real life, which was a slightly shocking comment considering his flawless character reenactment right down to every mannerism. The message about how the media is easily distracted by superficial content was something that stood out to me in the play, but unfortunately, most of it was buried underneath Jisbelle’s exasperating use of sexuality. And the word fuck.

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