Stitch (Dependent Theatre Projects) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Stitch is a one woman show about an oxy-addicted, single-mom porn-star with a mysterious, nagging and worsening vaginal infection of some kind. Throughout the play the infection – which she dubs Itchya – speaks to her; inciting self-hatred and convincing her to make foolish decisions.

Cara Gee as Kylie Grandview does a credible and professional job with the script she was given. There was no set, limited props and one fairly basic costume used during the entire performance. Minimalism was an effective choice for this production.

Despite the professionalism and talent of both Ms. Gee and well-respected director Jovanni Sy, I did not enjoy this production. I went into the show with no knowledge of the writer, director, performers or plot, but as the opening monologue unfolded the writer, Cliff Cardinal, exploited numerous negative stereotypes about women working in the sex-trade.

Our heroine is drug addicted, was sexually abused as a child by her drunken mom’s boyfriends, and is an irresponsible single mother who can’t set healthy sexual boundaries with her daughter. The fact that she’s a “prostitute” with some sort of horrible venereal disease is too obvious to bother commenting on.

I should say I have always been deeply irked by writing that undertakes “female suffering” and then portrays women as powerless weaklings quailing in the face of their insurmountable oppression, completely without agency, smarts or resistance. I felt I was seeing more in that vein during Stitch.

Throughout this piece our heroine seems completely unable to take control over any aspect of her own life. She makes a naïve and pathetic attempt to cross over into mainstream acting which fails miserably. She allows her extremely creepy and exploitative manager to strong arm her into a scene she is disgusted by.

The experience of women working in the sex-trade industry is an important topic which should be covered in all forms of creative media, including theatre. I would have preferred to see a production where the topic was handled without relying so heavily on tired and damaging clichés.

It did seem that other people around me were enjoying the show and buying this as a day in the life of a porn star. I didn’t enjoy the show, but would like to see both director Jovanni Sy and actress Cara Gee involved in something else.

Stitch Plays at Factory Theatre Studio:

Sunday August 7th 3:00 PM
Tuesday August 9th 5:30 PM
Thursday August 11th 8:00 PM
Saturday August 13th 10:30 PM
Sunday August 14th 5:30 PM

All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.artsboxoffice.ca, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee)

– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows