Canadian import Rachelle Elie enjoys being a woman. She especially enjoys her run-of-the-mill feminine pastimes: trying on sparkly dresses with eye makeup to match, dancing seductively to Ke$ha on a fur carpet, and hydrating with imported bottled water. She’s married to an Obstetrician/Gynecologist, has two lovely sons, and is, for all intents and purposes, living the dream.
Served with a side of audience discomfort, Elie’s solo show, Big Girls Don’t Cry (playing at The Red Room), is an insightful, if slightly off-putting insight into the psyche of the Modern Woman. Elie appears in what looks like a doll’s dress that lost a fight with a Bedazzler, knee-highs and platform slippers. She gapes and gasps her way through her basic biography, stopping every so often to sing or dance in a non-sequitur celebration of her womanhood. Questions are posed to the audience, and as she stares hard into each person’s eyes, she dares us to not be jealous of her in all her sparkle, and the beautiful life she has.
But Elie’s not bragging. She’s smarter than that. The comedienne, with a strong background in dance, drama, and clowning, is actually a social commentator. And though her thesis statement isn’t shared until well into the piece (followed, of course, by an in-your-face gangster rap), we are fortunate enough to watch her slowly unravel her vacant Stepford persona throughout. The moments where things come apart–noted easily by the rugged octave drop in Elie’s voice–are the most vibrant, the most alive.
This is performance art. Interactive and thought-provoking, Elie will get in audience member’s faces, crack jokes at their expense, and bring them into her wacked-out world. But it’s a world we are only too fortunate enough to be in. Elie’s message stems from her time working in Kenya, the founder of an artists’ collective. She slowly works these Kenyan women into her story, and they become the pin that finally pops the bubble. These are women that don’t get to worry about lip-gloss or Ke$ha. And while not beating us over the head with the message, Elie reminds us of our good fortune; how lucky we are to be big girls in the here and now.
~~~Big Girls Don’t Cry Company: Crowning Monkey Productions Written by: Rachelle Elie Mar 01, 6:30PM Mar 03, 6:30PM Mar 04, 2:00PM $16.00 The Red Room