As part of this year’s Off-JFL Toronto’s Second City brings in the show She the People written by Carisa Barreca, Carly Heffernan, and The Casts of The Second City. This is a brand new version of a sketch show created by the women of Second City which is a deep dive into what it means to be a woman in today’s world. It is not pretty or easy, but it sure is funny.
The best kind of humour is sharp. Well written. Imbued with intelligence. Well, this show has that in spades. Almost every laughed is filled with truth and even pain. It’s funny cause it is true. Funny when there is a skit about a woman starting to date a guy, thinking he is cute and nice, wondering if he truly likes her while the other half of her brain is having to think about whether he will kill her. Centuries of violence against women has done that. Made us fear for our very lives. It is constant always there. But what you gonna do? Life goes on and laughing helps.
The show is said to be the girlfriends’ guide to sisters doing it for themselves. They don’t only talk the talk here they run the walk. It is a totally female show. Acted, written, directed, crew, and musical director are all female. The fact that women are not considered to be men’s equal in any way is the jumping off point here. Men try to ignore it or even deny it. Women all exist knowing it on some level or another. Here the many women involved in the show go a long way towards dispelling a big (and stupid) myth that women are not as funny as men.
Patriarchy is the target and shot after shot are taken at it. From sexist television ads to the horror a young woman faces when she realizes she is turning into her mother to a woman waking up after a 10 year coma to #MeToo to taken on the entertainment giant that is Disney not once but twice. Sometimes the laughs were broken up by moments of silence. Silence because the audience realizes that something serious is going on. Accountability is sought and demanded. Never is this more obvious than when a teacher tells her young female student that it is not going to get better, but worse.
The smart and observant about the world continues on thoughout the show. While some skits are funnier than others none fall flat. This is a consistently good show. The six women – Tricia Black, Ashley Comeau, Paloma Nunez, Karen Parker, Ann Pornel, and Kristen Rasmussen – involved are all good. Each having their time in the spotlight.
Though the show is about what it is to be a woman in the world it is for a female, male, gay, bi, straight, trans, queer…whatever audience. The laughs are universal.
The show is 100 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. It’s run continues July 24-27 at the Centaur Theatre. Ticket can be purchased at: https://www.hahaha.com/en/show/she-the-people