Sunday, October 05, 2014

Rock Bottom

Bridget Everett, creator and performer of Rock Bottom, has been described as challenging, gutsy, provocative, hard-rocking, raunchy, and raucous, and those adjectives don't even begin to describe her in-your-face persona. With songs like "Tell Me (Does This Dick Make My Ass Look Big)" and "Eat It," she holds no punches in her depiction of aggressive sexuality and human foibles. Much of her material sounds like it is out of a drag queen's show; the rest takes feminism to places it hasn't been before. Her language is, uh, straightforward. The only word she uses more than cunt is pussy, and the only word she uses more than pussy is dick. If her sort of work is your cup of tea, you'll have a great time. She's very good at what she does.
Photo: Kevin Yatarola

If, however, you're like me, you'll find the show long, boring, obnoxious, and unpleasant.

Since Rock Bottom is so much a matter of taste, there's not a lot for me to add in terms of a review. However, I do want to discuss the concept of "consenting adults" in theatre.

In the course of Rock Bottom, Everett has much to say against rape and molestation, and how they are the perpetrators' responsibility and not the victims'. Her song, "Put Your Dick Away," makes its points in vivid language. I admire her for taking on this important topic in a cabaret act. But...

Everett drags people into her show. (If you plan to see this show, and you're shy, do not sit near the stage.) It's not audience participation; it's audience conscription. She rubs her breasts in people's faces, badgers people to eat whipped cream off of her leg, makes other audience members the subject of sexually explicit (to say the least!) stories, and finally sits on the face of someone she has dragged onstage. But have these people all consented? Has the audience?

I suppose that when you go to see a show, you sign on to travel where the creators and performers take you, but is there, should there be, a limit? Everett has a reputation, but it was clear that not everyone in the audience knew what they were getting into. And, due to the seating at Joe's Pub, very few people had the option of just walking out.

However, say that we stipulate that audiences at the Public know that the shows there can be edgy. Okay, fine. But that's still different than having someone rub their breasts in your face. Where is the line between edgy and basic unwanted physical/sexual attention?

(member ticket; seating hard to describe, but thankfully not near the stage)

1 comment:

msdworks said...

I too found this performance pretty offensive. I had read a review of her show prior to attending, (however, since it was part of my Public Theatre subscription I did not think it would be that ugly), the review did not prepare me for how offensive the show is.

I am not one to care about the use of the dick word or the FU word, the repetition just became so bloody boring and so not witty that it was.... well just repetitive.

The other stuff, the breast rubbing, the wiped cream, the genitalia toys...geez really?? It was shocking to me only that some of the audience....the younger audience...were getting off on it. REALLY!?