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      Woman in the Animal Kingdom
    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."


    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.

    Written by: Pamela Sabaugh.
    Directed by: Curtis Rosser.
    Cast: Pamela Sabaugh, Vincent Bagnall, Helene Galek, Frederick Backus, Theseus Roche, Frank Anthony Polito.

    Related links: Official site
    Fringe Festival 2000

    • Fringe overview
    • Angry Little People
    • Charlie Victor Romeo
    • Compensation
    • Finally
    • The Monument
    • Thankless Jobs of the Apocalypse
    • Verbatim
    • Woman in the Animal Kingdom

    • Fringe 2001
    • Fringe 2001 listings
    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 a sitcom.

    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.

    Actress and 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

    Reader comments on Woman in the Animal Kingdom:

  • Pamela Sabaugh   from Robyn, Mar 4, 2005

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