Diane Kondrat and Karen Irwin have been performing Assholes & Aureoles, a two-woman play written by Eric Pfeffinger, at fringe festivals all over the country for two years. In its six scenes, A&A comically addresses topics ranging from sexual harassment to curse words to life in a domestic violence shelter.
Nell Weatherwax returns to Bloomington to perform her unique brand of stand-up storytelling, which she calls a hybrid of movement theater and hard-hitting comedy. Her stories, including one of visiting a Hooters restaurant and another of seeing pornography for the first time, all come from her real life experiences.
Together, these two acts make up The Forbidden Show.
Laughs You'll Feel Guilty About
The Forbidden Show is not for the faint of heart. Diane Kondrat calls it trashy theater for smart people. "At the same time, we've had fraternity boys come to the show and be rolling on the floor." She adds that its appeal crosses genders, ages, social spheres, and educational levels.
Nell Weatherwax's portion of the show is just as bawdy. She has been going through every memory, every story, and every comic bit in her repertoire that has to do with sex for material. She feels like it's time to let herself off the leash to have fun with the topic of sex. "It's absolutely one of the funnest activities â if not the funnest activity â that humans do!"
Women Talking About Women
Weatherwax isn't accustomed to performing with other women on the bill. Having recently moved to Madison, Wisconsin, she has noticed that the other comedians performing in the open mic shows tend to be men in their mid-20's. But, that can sometimes work in her favor.
"For instance, I talk about my experience of going to a Hooters restaurant for the first time," she explains. "I do think it's funnier and kind of refreshing coming from a woman who's nearly 50 as opposed to a guy."
The themes addressed in The Forbidden Show are all issues related to the feminine experience. For Kondrat, commenting on these issues in a funny way is a method for coping with suffering. "When I look at women all around the world, we're always on the bottom. In a lot of instances, that's all you can do â laugh about it!"
Sharing the Stage
Kondrat and Weatherwax have only worked together on stage occasionally over the years, because their ways of working are so different: Weatherwax is physical and Kondrat in linguistic. But, they did collaborate in 1992 with the founding of Interaction Theater, a not-for-profit organization that works with at-risk youth and adults.
With the risquÃ© subject matter, this project seemed to be the best fit for an on-stage collaboration. "I've always felt that I needed to not be too shocking, too graphic, too out there, or intense, especially about sex," says Weatherwax. "And oh, I so don't feel that now! I feel that in conjunction with this show, I cannot be too outrageous."
What Can Be Expected
After attending The Forbidden Show, Weatherwax wants her audience to feel like they've just ridden a fabulous roller coaster:
Woman in her 40's, walking out of the theater, turns to her friend, same age range. They look at each other, mouths open, eyes pie-panned. They both crack up in each other's faces, and then they immediately say, âWe've got to get Amy at this show! We've got to get Lisa at this show!'
As for Kondrat, she's excited to present the show to a Bloomington crowd. "The combination of intelligencia and appreciation for the arts makes Bloomington the kind of place that's perfect for the kind of work we do."
Watch a video of Nell Weatherwax performing stand-up comedy at The Comedy Club On State in Madison, Wisconsin. Special ticket deals for The Forbidden Show will be advertised throughout the run of the show on Facebook and on Diane Kondrat's website.