Life hurdles challenges at us. How we handle these challenges is what makes for a great story. How we tell that story - dramatically or with humor, perhaps even with music - is what gives these stories life and resonance. But what if that challenge is something not many people have heard of? Case and point…
Vaginismus: a condition where the muscles surrounding the entrance to the vagina involuntarily tighten, making penetration impossible or painfully uncomfortable.
Tight (Haha Nice) is an entry into this year’s Rogue Theater Festival that fits the bill perfectly. I suppose the “Haha Nice” part might clue us in as to how our protagonist takes on this life challenge (yes, humor might be the way to go), but I’m intrigued.
Written by one of The Rogue Theatre Festival’s Resident Playwrights, Rebecca Kane, the story introduces Brooke, our protagonist, a young woman who gets a diagnoses she doesn’t like and is determined to overcome it. Using awkward conversations, dating apps, sex toys, friends with benefits, and “an obscene amount of free lube from Planned Parenthood,” she tackles her challenge head on (seriously, no pun intended here). As the shows description says, “It may hurt along the way, but hey, at least she’s getting laid.” As the faux disclaimer says, “Content Warning: 1/3 modern romcom, 1/3 what they didn’t teach you in sex ed, and 1/3 kegel jokes.”
For the playwright, who clearly has an eclectic approach to her work, it’s all about inspiration and ideas. “Once I get a visual idea for a scene, or the idea for something simple like a tagline, it helps fuel the rest of the play,” she says.
“I absolutely love telling someone about an idea and hearing them say it doesn't sound like it will work on stage. Nothing is more motivating than the word ‘unstageable’,” she says.
So how does one end up at The Rogue as more than a participant? She claims it’s just being lucky. But we know there is more to luck than meets the eye.
“I've gotten incredibly lucky with Rogue twice -- first, participating with my parody Almost Maimed back in 2019. I was running around trying to coordinate this play running in two different festivals at the same time, transporting buckets of fake blood between theatres, rehearsal studios, and my house, and the Rogue crew always did everything they could to make working with them such a soothing, rewarding experience in the midst of the stress. When I applied this year, I would have been just happy to work with them again, let alone be a Playwright-in-Residence. Now I get to be more deeply involved with the company, and they've set me up with some amazing opportunities and contacts in the industry,” says the playwright.
Having researched some of Rebecca’s plays on the New Play Exchange (NPX), you can see there’s quite a lot going on. With the Residency, her second play in this festival, and clearly an active approach to writing and producing, Ms. Kane certainly has quite a lot to look foward to. But change is inevitable, and there are still many unknown factors to this industry’s future.
“I think with everything that happened to the industry after the pandemic, it's hard to tell what a marker of success may look like years from now. I'd love to get the point 5 years from now where I don't have to pull double duty on my scripts so often — no need to stage manage or produce, just getting to concentrate on the development of whatever script I'm working on. I love the feeling of momentum I've been getting lately, and I think progress in itself is a worthy enough feeling, so in 10 years I'd just like to still be writing.”
You can catch Tight (Haha Nice) virtually, this coming Sunday, July 25th at the Rogue Theater Festival by going to this link: https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/53805, or stream it from July 26th until August 2nd by clicking here: https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/54199