She The People
an all female romp at JFL
Toronto Second City comediennes roast the patriarchy
By Byron Toben
The adoption of the United States Constitution (1789) added a last minute preamble stating that:
“We, the people of the United States of America, in order to (do several good things for the general good)… do ordain and establish this Constitution.”
While this document was a step forward for its time, it was written for rich white men and ignored women, black slaves and effectively diminished poor white men.
Despite emancipation of the slaves (1863) and universal suffrage (1920 and 1965), who were “the people” was extremely limited. So, despite the influence of Women’s lib and Black power, it is nice to see another step toward true equality as exhibited in the Second City show, She The People.
Despite my introduction, this entertaining presentation is no over laden political tirade. It features six accomplished actors from the Toronto Second City troupe doing the show, which was originally worked out at mother ship Chicago Second City.
We were particularly pleased to see Kirsten Rasmussen in the cast. While living here some years ago, she won numerous fans at the Theatre Ste. Catherine. I remember vividly her solo show Tough! where she boxed against herself.
Her five cohorts in She The People also share many awards and talents.
Tricia Black also creates musicals. Karen Parker has won three Canadian Comedy performer awards. Ashley Comeau won the NOW magazine award as best female improviser in 2015. Paloma Nunez has been in many shows on both sides of the border. Ann Pornell put her science degree on hold after finding success in the comedy field.
Directing the show is the accomplished Carly Heffernan, who is also credited with writing it, as are Carisa Barreca and the whole cast.
… despite the influence of Women’s lib and Black power, it is nice to see another step toward true equality as exhibited in the Second City show, She The People.
This fast paced show includes more crisp choreography and stage movement than usually seen in sketch shows, so choreographer Gillian Bartolucci did herself proud.
The show is billed as A Girlfriends’ Guide to Sisters Doing It for Themselves…
Some of the themes explore child non-appreciation, weight loss, frustrated doctors, break ups, a striptease featuring endless layers of panty hose and some audience involvement. So if you’re shy, don’t sit in the front row (especially if you’re male).
One of the most dramatic costumes was a dinosaur as a 90ish woman who wears pearls and has sexual appetites.
Can women prevent some forces who want to return them to the Middle Ages? This show may help, but in any event, it’s good fun.
She The People continues at the Centaur Theatre as part of the Just For Laughs Festival until July 27.
Visit hahaha.com/en/show/she-the-people or call 514 845-2322
Images: courtesy of Second City
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.