My Period | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

My Period 

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My Period, Factory Theater. Menstruation is one of those embarrassing rites of passage that don't live up to the hype. Playwright Jenny Kirkland in My Period tries to make comic sense of the cultural baggage behind the so-called mystery of "becoming a woman" with a cute but ultimately flat parody of the propaganda supplied by sex-education pamphleteers. The play follows the awkward coming-of-age hyperactivity of three girls as they anticipate and dread their first periods. In an unsuccessful effort to vary the one-note frenzy of this high-pitched yelp of a play, Kirkland also introduces us to mean gym teachers, evil older sisters, airheaded New Agers, and gangly boys.

Although director Amy Seeley pushes her cast to extremes of frenzied mugging in the Factory Theater's version of madcap camp, My Period doesn't go far enough into the sharp, cynical wit that powers good camp and clear parody. At best it's a perky, enthusiastic romp employing Saturday Night Live's most basic techniques of caricature. Brooke Dillman as the nasty sister is the most successful at building the consistent gestures and vocal posturing that make stereotyped characters simultaneously freakish and recognizable and therefore funny.

I generally enjoy Factory Theater's broad humor and talky self-consciousness, and My Period has its moments of goofy fun. But I wish some of the twisted, drag-inspired aesthetic that makes their other work so interesting had rubbed off on this straightforward comedy.

--Carol Burbank

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