“YOU CANNOT DESTROY PUSSYFEST: This “Pussy” Doesn’t Meow; It Roars!

pfOn Monday, January 22, Town Stages in New York City’s Tribeca was the venue for Pussyfest VI: You Cannot Destroy Pussyfest. The sold out event, presented by Caps Lock Theatre, was the sixth annual incarnation of Pussyfest. A long-running tradition since 2012, Pussyfest exclusively celebrates women, trans people, and gender non-binary people: “New York City’s most under-utilized resources!” as pointed out by one of the event’s curators, Caps Lock Theatre’s Mariah McCarthy. The night of theater and music was a benefit for Third Wave Fund, the only activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans folks under 35 years of age. With monologues featuring names like “You Can’t Call Yourself a Feminist and Be on a Diet, Nicole”, “Celebratory Menstruation Dance”, and “My Pussy Is Running For President”, the audience knew from the program that this wouldn’t be an ordinary Monday night!

 

 

The inspirational, joyous, and ultimately life-affirming celebration featured a variegated buffet of 17 monologues, each custom-written by a playwright for a specific performer and featuring a variety of different directors. Indeed, each piece– lasting less than five minutes in length– was a truly collaborative creation between two artists and their director. And, yes, there was even a comedic dance thrown in! While the lineup of performers and all their monologues was strikingly unique (The tones ranged from provocative, to humorous, to sexy, to downright raunchy… with every combination in between.), all of them had a common theme: “The Body”. The issues explored included: relationships with family, friends, and lovers; body image; gender identity and roles; the issue of being differently abled; dealing with the pressures of a rigid society at large; and many more. Ultimately, the connection between “the body” and the universal human soul was clearly palpable throughout. While most of the segments patently explored issues unique to women or transpeople, make no mistake: All the keenly aware stories performed at Pussyfest VI could be appreciated by all genders, regardless of how someone identifies themselves. The response from the audience was no less than ecstatic.

 

It’s a Pussyfest tradition to have a musical guest, and on this night the event featured a sneak preview of You Cannot Destroy Me: A Joan of Arc Musical, a brand new production in the works since 2014. The musical, described as a “country/hard-rock musical epic”, was composed by Melissa Lusk, written by Mariah McCarthy, and directed by Leta Tremblay. The preview featured Amy Lynn Sheehan (as “Jo”) and Hannah Fairchild (as “Joan of Arc” and on guitar) with the band LoveHowl and three background vocalists. You Cannot Destroy Me tells the story of Joan of Arc coming back to present times to visit a 17-year old teenager named Jo, who’s living in a trailer park in a red state. Jo has been given a mission: The next President of the United States must be a woman, and that woman’s name is Daphne Charles. Gender, political, and environmental issues are explored along the way… and ultimately, Jo accepts the mission, with their transgenerational savior as their guide. As evidenced by the preview, You Cannot Destroy Me features some extraordinary music, from stripped-down, heartfelt ballads to pounding, intense rock.

pf16New York City has always been home to some of the most unique, exciting, and talented artists in the world, and many of them were at Town Stages for You Cannot Destroy Pussyfest that night. Not one “mot” of the 17 monologues or one lyric from Caps Lock Theatre’s new Joan of Arc musical was a wasted word; nor was one minute from Pussyfest VI a wasted moment.  Here’s to another nine lives of Pussyfest– and then some!

Learn more about Caps Lock Theatre at www.CapsLockTheatre.com.

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