I think if there’s any SummerWorks show you should take your grandma to, it’s Les Demimondes. Your mother as well – your sister, your great aunt! Heck, your father and brother should be there too (although depending on how old your brother is you may want to sit a few seats away from him for this one).
The show is narrated by Prostitution herself (Alexandra Tigchelaar), a 3000 year old woman who is intelligent, clever, and comfortable naked in front of an audience of strangers. With equal parts humour and didacticism, Prostitution both entertains and chastises her audience into an exploration and subsequent dismantling of the various historical, cultural, and contemporary ways sex workers are perceived.
Les Demimondes is in the business of myth dispelling, and it does so quite well.
The show does have a couple of handy tools on its side – the naked bodies of a cast of wonderful looking women will inevitably hold anyone’s attention. You don’t need me to tell you how successfully female flesh is used as advertising space.
And there is a lot of nudity in this piece. Expect to become intimate with various parts of the female anatomy in the opening scene alone. Expect to get a little turned on by it all (hence the need for distance from your potentially younger, sexually frustrated brother).
No one would call the nudity in this show “tasteful,” and ah, that is exactly the point.
The in-your-face b’s and v’s may initially draw the audience in, but by the end of the show it’s commonplace. At the first labial glimpse we are perhaps delighted or shocked but because we are so continually fleshily confronted, the nakedness normalizes (which I don’t intend to suggest makes is any less delightful).
To me this is the perfect embodiment of the show’s aim – to normalize sex work, to force us to look into its folds (innuendo intended) and admit our delight, or at least our curiosity.
Can I use Marshall McLuhan to talk about prostitution? I’d like to try: the medium is the message (massage?). I’m certainly distorting what McLuhan means for my own purposes, but in this play the female body is both content and form; the message, as well as the necessary medium the message is conveyed through. The message and its quite literal embodiment.
It’s a relationship of creation, the female body reclaiming itself by willingly giving itself away.
Take grandma and let Les Demimondes show you both how beautiful a symbiosis this can be.
- Les Demimondes plays at the Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington Ave.)
- Show times: Sun. August 12, 10:00 PM, Fri. August 17, 2:30 PM, Mon. August 13, 5:00 PM, Sat. August 18, 7:30 PM, Tues. August 14, 10:00 PM,Sun. August 19, 10:00 PM
- All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://ticketwise.ca, By phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the Lower Ossington Box Office (located at 100A Ossington Avenue) Mon. – Sun. 12PM-7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
- Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows