I enter the scene of The Virginity Lost & Found at this year’s 2012 Toronto Fringe Fest to find elderly gentle-lady Mary Pat Susan Jean (writer/performer S. Bear Bergman) seated at his/her desk, modestly dressed in a long flowered skirt, a light cardigan, and sensible men’s shoes.
Her/his short, grey bob is perfectly coifed, complementing his/her scruffy, brown beard.
All the usual office supplies are placed neatly on the desk around him/her – some files, a calendar, a coffee mug, a phone, and a giant dildo.
This interesting mix of both stark reality and subversive possibility (filing paired with dildos, facial hair with flowery skirts) can be expanded to the show’s purpose as a whole.
Which, I was surprised to find out, is less about comedy than it is about boldly (and sometimes aggressively) defying current cultural and political hetero-normative sexual myths. Especially about virginity and its constructs.
Mary Pat is the lovely manager of a government office in the Ministry of the Interior called the Virginity Lost & Found. This is a space where the mythical proportions of capital ‘V’ virginity are rescaled.
You’re in the right place if your virginity has been ‘found’ as in, “Where did this come from?” or ‘lost’ as in, “Well I just had it…”
Mary Pat is a fully realized character. He/she is polite, professional, and educational, suggesting the audience try out various gender-role defying sexual activities – such as ‘pegging,’ which Mary Pat “suspects dear Laureen Harper has already heard of.”
It really is the Sex Ed we didn’t get in school, taught by a bearded grandmother who frequently breaks into musical song and dance numbers. She/he makes us laugh, but that’s not really the point. It is clear this show takes its heavy subject matter seriously.
The Virginity Lost & Found is undeniably entertaining, but it is also concerned with a sociopolitical agenda greater than the entertainment of its guests. This is theatre that recognizes the potential of its culture-crafting role – and it still makes you laugh.
- The Virginity Lost & Found plays at Venue 2, The Tarragon Theatre Extra Space (30 Bridgman Ave.)
- Show times: July 04 10:30 PM, July 08 03:00 PM, July 10 07:00 PM, July 11 02:15 PM, July 12 10:30 PM, July 14 03:30 PM, July 15 12:00 PM
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are also available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows