Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009

Hard Boiled Gender Flip Onstage In Plymouth

By Russ Bickerstaff
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With temperatures beginning to feel downright spring-like, there’s a definite possibility that some may be clamoring to get out of town for the weekend. Relax. The weather’s not THAT good . . . temperatures are expected to get back down into the upper 30’s by Friday. Still, there may be those who want to get to small town Wisconsin for a cozy, intimate Valentine’s Day weekend. Some may wish to consider the Plymouth Arts Center’s production of a pair of farcical murder mysteries. Plymouth, Wisconsin is a tiny little town of about 8,000. It’s about an hour's drive due north of Milwaukee, just west of Sheboygan. Opening this weekend and running through next weekend, the Plymouth Arts Center presents Jeffrey Goffin’s gender reversal murder mystery comedies My Gun Is Pink and Murder at the Ballet.

Written in the late1980’s, Goffin's pair of mysteries are typical hardboiled detective tales set in the 1930’s with a style reminiscent of those found in the early works of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The only difference is that traditionally male roles are deliberately written to be female. All the roles are reversed, making for an interesting parallel universe. Private Detective Babe Archer solves a pair of mysteries over the course of two plays tat collectively run about 2 hours in length. The Plymouth Arts production will feature both running back to back February 13 - 21. Originally commissioned for high school productions, the gender reversal was expressly wrtten to deal with the issue of larger female casts in high school drama programs. Given the right perspective, these comedies could be an interesting statment on gender roles in 20th century society. The Plymouth Arts cast features an ensemble of young actors. Could be a pleasantly odd diversion featuring talent with fresh faces and interesting new talent.

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