Agnes of bod
A partially blind artist grapples with her animal instincts in a jungle of men that her mom would tell her are all wrong for her, in the intelligent and passionate "Woman in the Animal Kingdom."
By JOSHUA TANZER
Agnes describes herself as "a puritan conservative with a ravenous appetite for sex," which is only one of the seeming contradictions in this intriguing character. She's also an artist who's partially blind a sculptor, actually, so that what she lacks in sight she can compensate for through touch. Fact no. 2 gives her a kind of sensuality that may help explain fact no. 1 as she navigates her way through the world of men.
This battle of the sexes element of the play is, in some sense, a now-classic routine: girl
meets boy, boy says something comically inane, girl moves on to next boy. But the men aren't
just there to be laughed at, even when they come up with winning lines like: "You are an amazing
woman. . God, why haven't I called you?" These men a stern but kind cop,
a buffoonish lawyer, a stammering backwoods Kentuckian, and two artists, one pretentious and the
other blinder but more brilliant than she is help her act out this dance of desire and
repulsion, and they are well thought out in a way that keeps this play from lapsing into
If the play has one shortcoming, it's that the aspect of the visually impaired artist fades
from the story as it progresses, so the question of how this individual woman's experience
and emotions are unique is left unclear. But "Woman in the Animal Kingdom" is still a perceptive,
sexy and sometimes funny exploration of the female psyche in the male jungle.
playwright Pamela Sabaugh who, like her character, is visually impaired
passionately expresses the conflict between healthy animal desire and a menagerie of nagging
anxieties. If she yields to unthinking passion, will she lose her true self; and yet, if she
resists forever, is she wrongly ashamed of her own sexuality? How long will it take for
the lucky guy to reveal himself as a colossal mistake? And will she hear her mother's
voice telling her she knew it all along?
|AUGUST 21, 2000|
OFFOFFOFF.COM THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK
Reader comments on Woman in the Animal Kingdom:
Post a comment on "Woman in the Animal Kingdom"