Taking on the patriarchy one joke at a time, comedian Alex Dallas hits all the right notes
Horseface is a wickedly funny one-woman show by Alex Dallas playing at Red Sandcastle Theatre. It responds to the #metoo era but also goes beyond it. It is an irreverently black comedic take on one woman’s life from the 70s until now.
Although Dallas’ story is a personal one, every woman can relate to her experiences. Being objectified or receiving unwanted male attention or having to squeeze in next to a manspreader on the train are pretty universal experiences for women.
In fact, the show begins with that quintessential experience that all women have — sitting next to a manspreader. Going through the mental gymnastics of wanting to say something, but not wanting to make a fuss. Then immediately feeling disappointment at letting yourself down by not saying anything. All the while stewing over the sheer entitlement of this manspreading offender and his utter obliviousness. Boy, just thinking of it…
Anyway, this leads her to recount incidents from her life where men she has come in contact with have harassed or objectified her. She, however, is not just venting. She really hammers home, throughout the show, the level of entitlement, presumption and liberty that men have and take with women’s bodies.
All this sounds pretty serious and sobering, but this show will have you in stitches! Dallas is a comedian after all (despite the well-established fact that women are not funny!)
Yet, this show takes some dark turns. One minute you could be laughing as she ridicules the employer who was harassing her. The next, she reveals she was 14 when this particular incident took place. The smile will freeze on your lips.
It does not take long before the sheer insanity of our conditioned response to laugh or shrug these incidents off begins to dawn on you. Dallas also makes nuanced observations about how the system puts women in roles where if they do not conform or play along, then they really are no fun.
She brings up her experience of carrying her boyfriend’s guitar to a concert, paying bills, being flirty and still managing to drink anyone under the table. The question she implies and leaves hanging is: do we really want to do these things, or are we trying to be good sports? How much is being a supportive partner, and how much is being taken advantage of? She offers no answer, but we all have similar experiences, which we feel ambiguous about.
If you want to protest Louis C.K (or Louis Cock Knob as Dallas refers to him) being invited to perform at YukYuks, see this show. I can’t think of a better way to stick it to the patriarchy.
- Horseface runs from October 16-27 at Red Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen St. E)
- Shows start at 8pm with an added matinee at 3pm on October 19 and 27th
- Tickets are available online or at the door for $20 for general admission and $18 for arts workers.
Photo by Clare Barry