WRITTEN BY STEVE KURDZIOLEK ’24
Written by Valerie Solanas, Up Your Ass is a wild ride from start to finish. This production, directed by Skidmore Theater student Issac DeMarchi, is presented as a Playwright’s Lab, in which the actors take on a minimalist staged reading approach. The play is raunchy, unabashed in its messaging, and endlessly hilarious.
Before the show begins, DeMarchi gives some background on the play and the production; they talk about the history of Solanas and Andy Warhol, and how her attempted murder of him was over a dispute about this specific play. DeMarchi then details their own experience with Solanas’ piece and the process of research they underwent in order to grapple with the show’s themes. Afterward, DeMarchi welcomes the cast to the audience who introduces themselves one by one. All in all, DeMarchi holds a crystal-clear understanding of the play and is deeply connected to it, as evidenced by the quality of the performance that was witnessed on Friday made possible through DeMarchi’s direction.
This show follows the story of a lesbian prostitute, Bongi Perez, played by Finn Lyon, as she bounces from farcical situations throughout the plot. From catcalling with literal cats to debating with a woman whose son continually interrupts the conversation with a perpetual show of nudity, the character is continually thrown into absurdist situations. Lyon effectively balances the performance between guiding the audience and putting Bongi’s brash personality and drive on display. Lyon’s ability to play off with the other actors illustrates the ensemble’s impressive chemistry.
The show’s crass and often over-the-top humor had every audience member floored with laughter. Every little joke was told with witty delivery and perfect comedic timing, demonstrating the talent of the actors. The actor who seemed to have the most amusing characters was Darren Jackson-Wilkins, who played Russell, the Spade Cat, and Miss Collins. Every time their characters spoke, the audience was bound to laugh.
Despite the show’s focus on farcical comedy, it still offers much in the way of thematic messaging by way of its characters. Every character comes to represent a caricature of some aspect of patriarchal society, with Bongi playing the one fighting back. Most notably, the show gives us some genuine moments between Bongi and Arthur. Near the end of the show, they enter an engaging discussion about the nature of patriarchy and how it has affected both of their lives. The scene leaves the audience really thinking about the implications of living in a world like the one described by Bongi and Arthur, and though the play is heightened by comedy and a shocking twist at the end of the show, viewers had that particular discussion outlined for them and are left to think on it after leaving the theater.
Overall, Up Your Ass is a wonderfully fun show that perfectly blends farcical comedy and deep messaging. The production team, as well as the actors involved, should be very proud of the work they put on, as it was a joy to watch. It is a show that truly deserves to be seen, talked about, and reflected on.
Photos by Coltrane Cho ’24
Steve Kurdziolek ’24 is a staff writer for the Skidmore Theater Living Newsletter