Monday, August 14, 2017

Fringe Festival 2017: "Live From New York, He's A Prom Date!"

Day: 11

Show: 49

Category: Comedy

By: Side by Side

Created by: Peter Simmons and Jen Maren

Location: U of M Rarig Xperimental

Summary: #TCTheater artist Jen Maren reveals a true story from her past, when her mom put her on the Sally Jessy Raphael show to get a prom date.

Highlights: This was a perfect end to my 2017 Minnesota Fringe Festival. I laughed and winced for an hour, and ended it with tears in my eyes. In what is really a love letter to her mom who "loves her recklessly," Jen tells her story with great drama and flair. Her mom just wanted her to be happy, so in 1992 she responded to a plea from Sally for girls who didn't have a date to prom. Jen (a budding performer who thought this might be her big break) and her mom flew to NYC, signed a contract, and were told what to say, how to act, and what to wear. Photos and clips from the show are displayed on a video screen, as Jen writhes in horror in a robe eating M&Ms and drinking wine from the bottle. She doesn't talk about the inherent misogyny, strict gender roles, and heteronormativity of the prom itself (no I'm not bitter that I never went to prom, it's true, prom is horrible!), that could be an entire show unto itself. Rather this show is a memoir in story and song of what it's like to be a young person growing up in this world, and how, if you're lucky, your parents do what they think will make your life better and happier, even if it does the exact opposite.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.