Get ready to open wide… your textbook, that is. The subject? Sex Education! Renegade performance collective Flesh Mob is bringing the World Premiere of Miseducated: An Oral History of Sexual (Mis)Education to the New York City hotspot The Tank in May. Miseducated is an interdisciplinary dance-theatre work exploring the sensitive and fertile (ahem…) subject matter of Sex Ed. Using recordings and transcripts of interviews conducted with dozens of
students survivors of America’s sexual education system, Miseducated transforms the material of these stories into a dynamic and provocative physical performance. This show promises to be a unique experience for which you’ll gladly stay after class…
“Sex is funny, stupid, gross, divine, and base, and we’ll never stop being titillated or discomforted by it. We’ll also never stop learning,” confesses the show’s co-creator and Flesh Mob member Hilary Preston. “’Miseducated’ is our attempt to braid together the threads of absurdity, hilarity, awkwardness, shame, and trauma, implicating ourselves, our community, and the audience in the process.”
The mission of Flesh Mob is to explore the boundaries of movement, storytelling, documents, and space. Made up of burlesque/performance artist Peekaboo Pointe (USA), theatre artist/physical comedian Ben Gorodetsky (Canada), and dancer/writer Hilary Preston (USA), Flesh Mob’s work addresses topics of sex, identity, and education. The core members of Flesh Mob met as students in the Performance and Interactive Media Arts program at Brooklyn College. Individually, they have been presented and/or commissioned by Movement Research at Judson Church, The Wild Project, Slipper Room, Duane Park, Bizarre, Chinook, Gas Station Arts Centre, Chutzpah, Mile Zero Dance, Rapid Fire Theatre, Bad Dog, and SVA. They have worked with other artists such as Taylor Mac, Gesel Mason, Brian Webb, Lin Snelling, and GWAR. Miseducated features an original score by vocalist and composer Chanan Ben Simon (Israel), text and performance collaboration by Emily Twines (USA), and an ensemble of diverse burlesque performers, theatre artists, and musicians from New York City.
Flesh Mob’s Ben Gorodetsky took the time to speak with me about Miseducated:
JR: Hi Ben. That’s quite a conglomerate of talent who joined forces for ‘Miseducated’! How did all of you “hook up”, creatively?
BG: We met as students in the Performance and Interactive Media Arts MFA at Brooklyn College. Hilary, Peekaboo and I are all in a thesis cohort together– and Emily, Chanan, and Malena are in the year below us. The program has a strong focus on interdisciplinary, collaborative creation– so joining forces is the name of the game! I think the reason the core three of Flesh Mob were drawn to working together was because of our shared love of physical work. Dance, physical theatre, and movement arts are at the core of what we all do– so when it came time to find collaborators, we knew we wanted to work with others who were into sweaty and physically heightened performance!
JR: Gotcha! The show was created in part from “recordings and transcripts of interviews conducted with dozens of survivors of America’s sexual education system”. Was there one subject’s story that REALLY stood out?
BG: One subject told us all about how as a grade school kid he was certain that sex was when you and your partner both pee in a condoms and drink it in a ceremonial toast. Like champagne on New Years Eve!
JR: Oh my!… Well, anyway, like any good burlesque artist, you don’t want to reveal too much. Not at first, at least! But what are some surprises that you have in store for the audience coming to see ‘Miseducation’?
BG: The cast is larger than you think… And we’re hoping the audience will be surprised by the way we use stories, sound, and the idea of live voices.
JR: Sounds great! Lastly, how much “sex” can we expect in this “Oral History of Sexual (Mis)Education”? Will we need a note from our parents to attend? (Laughs)
BG: There is not much actual sex in the show. It’s more about the squirmy, confusing, and overwhelming feelings of learning (or not learning) about sexual health and safety in a myriad different ways. That being said, there is a bit of nudity so if you wanna get a note from your parents to see some breasts, go for it. Or better yet, bring your parents!
JR: I’ll see what I can do! (Laughs) Thank you for speaking with me!
Flesh Mob’s Miseducated: An Oral History of Sexual (Mis)Education runs Friday May 3 at 8PM and Saturday, May 4 at 12PM and 8PM at The Tank NYC, 312 West 36th St, New York City. Visit www.fleshmobnyc.com for more information and tickets! This sounds like a first time experience you won’t want to “mis”– whether you’re “hot for teacher”, “too cool for school”, or both!
(Photos by Shayhan Lewis.)