Online dating can be a lot of things for a lot of different people: intriguing, confusing, scary, sexy, creepy, dreamy, goofy, and the list goes on. I’ll admit, I’ve had my fair share of virtual encounters, but they have never been anywhere near as sexy or as hilarious as the online dating depicted in the Leaping Thespian’s original play Women 4 Women. Still, the play was poignantly relatable for me, and for a room filled with women from all walks of life. There were a few men in the crowd too, but the majority of the audience gathered at the Railway Club for the opening night of Women 4 Women no surprise, were women. Nevertheless, the play offers forty minutes of charming humour and sassy wit that is easily accessible to anyone and everyone who enjoys good comedy and who has had their own little taste of the online dating world.
“My hope is that comedy is comedy. No matter how [the audience members] identify, they would find something funny,” says Women 4 Women’s director Kerri Mesner.
The Leaping Thespians are a local women’s theatre company devoted to bringing to life the stories of lesbians and queer women, and this play is no exception. This particular play portrays four different queer female characters, each experimenting with online dating for an entirely different reason. From sex-crazed butch on the prowl to radical tea-drinking feminist looking for love, the stakes are high. Our hopes are raised for nervous lady-loving newbie, and our expectations shifted drastically for porn star diva on the quest for a sexy new adventure. The dialogue that ensues is absolutely hilarious.
At first, I was a little wary of the obvious hyper-stereotyping, but as the play progresses it becomes clear that each character is so much more than those little labels and boxes and what their online dating profile suggests. Each character is sweet and deep and layered with lovable quirks.
“I think comedy can be funny and moving,” says Mesner.
I definitely see both of these elements at play in Women 4 Women.
I loved the theatrical choice to make the characters speak to us directly as if we, the audience, are the computer screen. We are able to witness the private and ridiculous expressions of each character as she reacts to her most recent proposition on the fictional dating website: women4women.com. Each interaction is direct, and honest, and raw, and every line moves the plot forward effortlessly. The scripted progression of flirting seems to unfold so organically, and both the awkward, and the steamy, webcam scenes were brought to life perfectly by the talented Leaping Thespian’s cast. I could really feel the fresh infatuation butterflies flapping their wings, and the giddy excitement bubbling from the actors and the audience alike at the possibility of each new potential connection.
Originally written between 2005 and 2006, this is the third rendition of Women 4 Women.
“I think it’s the best version yet,” says the show’s producer Stephanie Kemp, “they really nailed it!”
The hoots, whistles, laughter, and enthusiastic cheering from the opening night audience was evidence enough.
“The audience was much more vocal than I expected,” admits Mesner, and producer Stephanie Kemp agrees.
The vocal encouragement was also very exciting for actor, Kiri McGuire, who played the porn star diva, Juicy Lucy, a character who, McGuire says, is very different from all the roles she has performed in the past.
“This was the first time I’ve taken my shirt off and did a sexy dance” McGuire laughs, “I definitely wasn’t expecting all of the hooting and hollering.”
McGuire says she felt completely comfortable and safe doing it because the Leaping Thespians foster such a beautiful, welcoming, and supportive environment. McGuire has been a part of the company since 2010, but when she first joined she had no idea it was a lesbian theatre company. Of course, not all members of the Leaping Thespians identify as lesbian or even as queer; they are just a group of women who are passionate about bringing good queer theatre to the stage.
“[Women 4 Women] speaks to anybody across sexuality. It’s about love, it’s about humanness, it’s about speaking your truth and being true to yourself,” says Steph Kemp.
So if you are looking for a laugh or just for something fun to do, check out the second showing of Women 4 Women this Thursday night, June 13, 2013 at the Railway Club. I loved it so much I think I am going to go watch it again! Women 4 Women is a comedy for everyone.