If I’m being honest, I really didn’t know what to expect from the Second City show ‘She The People’ when I walked in to see it. I also didn’t Google what the show was about, because I wanted to go in completely unbiased. Although if we are being honest with one another, I was a bit worried about the show. I had this gut reaction that with a title like “She The People” that it wasn’t going to be as intersectional as I hoped. Well, guess what everyone: an egg is definitely on my face.
The sketch comedy review features six women-identified cast members – Ann Pornel, Ashley Comeau, Karen Parker, Kirsten Rasmussen, Paloma Nunez, and Tricia Black. While the show itself started in Chicago, the show has been passed down and updated through the troupes themselves for pop culture references and so on. Hell, there is even a #MeToo movement reference in this update. The sketches themselves as sharp, witty and most of relatable – for better, or for worse.
As I was sitting there watching the show, one of the things I appreciated was just about every perspective was offered: queer relationships, fat bodies or the discrimination WOC face. It’s not often that we find these perspectives tackled, refreshingly so in a sketch comedy review. I spoke
to cast member Tricia Black on the phone (actually, the day of legalization to be exact), who shared with me that she feels “it’s a powerful time right now for women, women of color, queer women, all of us to be in comedy.”
After attending the show, I don’t disagree with her. It seems as if women across Toronto stages, not just on the She The People stage, are finding their voice. For many women and trans women, being able to laugh at traumatic events in our own lives doesn’t cause us to ignore them, but instead seems to prepare us to endure them. Black notes that having a show like She The People is so important because it provides them space to share their stories. “It’s such an important time because it is incredibly important in like in the political climate, but also just in general for woman everywhere,” with Black explaining that the show doesn’t beat down the male perspective, rather shows them some of the stuff they experience is the same.
The show which runs until November 25th on the Second City Mainstage is supposed to attract all types of audiences, but in reality, it has a deeper feminist message. There are serious issues facing modern women that are both resonant and hilarious. And through sketch comedy or stand-up, we can attempt to tackle the critical inroads with of misogyny and gender imbalance. Black shares, “Sometimes after a while, you got to pick yourself up and be like, okay, how can we get through this together? Because we’re all angry, everybody’s angry right now. Everybody’s angry, especially women, women of color and queer folks.” But Black admits that after checking in with feelings, you have to say, “Ok, here’s how I’m feeling and this is why, and let’s make a political statement that we can laugh about it, too.” This makes comedies like She The People more important. But it is giving these cast members a space to talk about things like sexist TV, the wage gap, sexual assault, body shaming and more. To be honest, that matters.
For more info on She The People, click HERE!
(Story by Contributing Editor, Ama Scriver)