Middle-Aged White Women Should Run to See Jane Run!
|See Jane Run stars (from left) Maribeth Graham, Jeni Hacker, and Irene Adjan|
Okay, so the opening song to the musical was actually about the multifarious moods and sides to every complex, vaginally-equipped creature. But the playwright chose to swathe this message in a 3-inch-thick, thigh-grazing maxi-pad of a menstrual musical metaphor.
Luckily, things quickly got out of the feminine hygiene aisle and onto more palatable topics. See Jane Run! is entirely composed of musical vignettes that show the modern middle-aged American woman --- correction, white middle-aged American woman --- in the multitude of roles she might inhabit.
A recent divorcee bumbles through a job interview after spending decades as a housewife. Two women in colonial garb squabble as they rehearse a butter- and soap-churning act they perform for elementary school classes (uh, some vignettes work better than others).
A woman lies prone with a sprained ankle she got while practicing step aerobics on a foot stool at midnight because she "felt fat." A lesbian couple embraces before one of them leaves to pick up her child and meet up with her husband, prompting the other to break into agonized song. A woman stumbles out of a party to confess her alcoholism to a stranger at a bus stop.
Then the song took an unexpected turn, with a painfully repetitive chorus about how Jane could never be a "sexy black Mama like Michelle Obama." It's not out of reverence for the first lady that we cringed when the Janes sang out their envy for Obama's toned arms and great ass, or even when they gave pelvic thrusts and blurted "How 'bout some affirmative action for me?"
The disturbing factors were two-fold: one, the play is supposed to examine the 21st century woman, and this song was one of the only mentions of politics, or really anything outside of relationships and appearance, and still its depth didn't reach beyond wanting to bone the president. And two, with its lyrics about "women of color" having such great rhythm, if the song couldn't quite be labeled "racist," it certainly seems that it would be alienating to non-white women in the audience.
It doesn't help that the only other appearance of a non-WASPy character was that of a somewhat dim-witted Spanish-speaking maid (Hacker), who waits on her white boss (Adjan) in a fall-all-over-yourself servile manner.
See Jane Run! plays through August 14 at the Actors' Playhouse (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables). Tickets cost $35. Catch performances Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. for $40, except Saturdays which are $48. Call 305-444-9293 or visit actorsplayhouse.org.
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