East Coast denizens with a vested interest in skewering outmoded models of masculinity ought to check out this intimate and incisive production at the Paradise Factory on 64 E. 4th Street in Manhattan.
The All-American Genderfuck Cabaret, written by Mariah MacCarthy and directed by Heidi Handelsman, takes gender stereotypes—tomboy, slut, man-hating lesbian, girlie girl, player, bro, sensitive guy, gay best friend, and a none-of-the-above—and barrages them with seismic true-to-life disturbances to explode the idea of gender as a black-and-white (or blue-and-pink) construct, and to show the flesh, blood, fear, and joy these “types” are made of.
The show symbolizes masculinity and femininity with a loose-fitting suit and a hoop skirt, swapped among the cast, tried on and discarded. It takes aim at the disguises we don to fit into a particular mold. These cultural scripts run the gamut from pathetic and laughable (the guys’ bro banter) to rife with grave consequences (a rape occurs when a dance and make-out session gets misconstrued for sexual consent).
The subjects are hard not to root for, even as the script, candid and profane, gets uncomfortably personal with each one. Lively, charming, and often flat-out hilarious, the show is, ultimately, an empowering project for men, women, and every nonbinary in-between.
Performances: April 22, 26, 28, 30 at 8 p.m.; April 23, 24 at 2 p.m. Get tickets here.