Running from March 4– 26, Buntport Theater, in collaboration with Teacup Gorilla presents, 10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products. Using the novel Riding Sidesaddle by local author Miriam Suzanne, the play works as an adaptation of the novel, which is printed on 250 interchangeable index cards. The play works through dark comedy and wit to challenge ideas of gender and appearance, all manifested into“these absurd carcasses we live in.” The play features six actors, and the three-person band Teacup Gorilla, all within one bathroom. The characters go through their daily routines, while participating in extraordinary conversations between close friends.
The entirety of the play is performed in the bathroom, a traditionally private place. However, we see that this bathroom is anything but. Each character has but a few moments to themselves before another character emerges, and communication is brought about by looking into the mirror, and going through routine hygiene, such as brushing teeth or applying makeup. The characters, in fact, rarely communicate on a face-to-face level, it’s through looking at their reflection in the mirror. It showcases the amount of time, energy, and self-doubt that we put into our appearance. All the while, the band sits in the bathtub, providing the option for the characters to break the fourth wall, and supply emotional depth to the piece.
A heavy emphasis on makeup and its effects are brought about from the opening of the play. Mocking a YouTube “DIY” makeup tutorial, each character provides beauty tips, followed by their own personal musing about the world they live in. Makeup becomes a display, a mask to put on in order to be seen a certain way. As the character of the narrator ponders, he brings up the idea that he wishes to look a certain way, but the only way to look a certain way is to be seen. This begs the question: Is this form of expression for us, or the people who look at us? This play works to redefine the makings of gender and appearance through breaking down their true meanings, and how the routine plays just as large of a role in our lives as the big moments.
Buntport Theater is a non-profit company that continues to make contributions through the donations of their audience. When walking into the box office, I was greeted by smiling faces and a table of refreshments. Although small in size, the theater is large in character and passion. Each actor preforming was talented and evocative, and truly made a connection with the audience. Their personalities shone through the emanation of their characters, which is what made their play truly shine. Diana Dresser plays Sam, who records herself getting undressed before bed, and tells the story of the Greek myth of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, in which the two sexes are merged into one. Erik Edborg portrays Herman, Sam’s close friend who offers to help Hannah Duggan, playing Jenny, and her girlfriend Jolene, played by Erin Rollman, have a baby. Michael Morgan is Edward, a nervous and avid cleaner of the bathroom. And Brian Colonna serves as the “narrator,” coming onto stage to question reality, and offer counter points to our assumed perceptions of ourselves. A quirky, witty, and thought-provoking play, 10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products is a dynamic and entertaining social exploration. A tale of friendship, myth, storytelling, and loss, the various personalities of the characters work together to bring out humor as well as heart wrenching reality. Definitely a production worth writing about, talking about, and going to see.