A Engage in in 5 Betties is a sidesplitting meditation on queerness, femininity

The Betties have a swingset discussion. // Photo by Micah Thompson

We dare you to count the range of moments you listen to the term “pussy” in Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage: A Participate in in 5 Betties.

We adore the term. We regard the word. But if our funds was on whether or not the common viewer could retain track—look, it is just difficult to depend that large.

Most likely that is why The Fishtank Theatre’s existing production is so amazing. It’s the reclamation. Or maybe it’s the themed cocktail list named soon after Betty, and Betty, and Betty…

But probably it is the consideration to detail that Director Katie Gilchrist has so generously made available the group, casually immersing us in the “theah-tah”—including her “opening night” silver crushed velvet pantsuit—a chef’s kiss and cherry on top rated of the cast’s coordinated coveralls.

“This isn’t a pageant output,” suggests a beautifully adorned spokesperson for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence upon the play’s introduction.

What the creation is may be remaining up to interpretation, but is ultimately a meta general performance breaking down the partitions of course, gender, sexuality, and even mental health—a engage in in a engage in that can make enjoyment of a enjoy while using gender-fuckery and intersectional feminism as a implies of storytelling for five identical-name, exact-outfit non-cis-hetero-white-gentleman men and women and their struggles with accepting and adapting to transform.

In point, the sheer simplicity of the costumes, established style, and five-individual cast lends itself to the depth of the articles: a superior-degree demonstration of ferocity and restraint, self-awareness, own intimacy, and queer exploration—connection that relies on each silence and discussion.

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Betty 1 (Vanessa Severo) and Betty 5 (Jen Benkert-Goche) coaching to struggle. // Photograph by Micah Thompson

From the opening (and sexually awakening) dinner party scene, to the initially agitated early morning recap of Vanessa Severo’s Betty 1, to the cartoonish hand puppetry of Ashley Personett’s Betty 2, and all the Betty times in between—no singular minute is anticipatory.

Silverman’s script, Gilchrist’s way, and the actors’ execution build a whole spectrum of feels. Distressing hand mirror tummy laughs, pissed-off Richard punchlines, chilling monologues amid identity crisis, modest truck talks and resistance to improve, redemption soon after rehab—it’s all there, folks.

This will come with a KC intimacy only this magical concoction of a couple of the city’s best—Vanessa Severo, Ashley Personett, Mandy Ortiz, Vanessa Davis, and Jen Benkert-Goche—can give.

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Betty 2 (Ashley Personett) talks “pussy” with her hand puppet. // Picture by Micah Thompson


Forthcoming dates:

Sat., March 5 – 3 p.m.

Solar., March 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Thurs., March 10 – 7:30 p.m.

Sat., March 12 – 7:30 p.m.

Solar., March 13 – 3 p.m.

Tickets for The Fishtank Theatre’s creation of Collective Rage: A Participate in in 5 Betties can be uncovered on the net. Encounter masks and evidence of vaccination are expected at all Black Box activities.

The Fishtank Theatre and The Black Box are situated at 1060 Union Ave., Kansas Town, MO 64101.