Note: PLEASE do not read this if you are of a conservative mindset. Or my family.
The Montreal Fringe Festival is on right now. I saw a poster for this show, Peg Ass Us, in Santropol with Monica. It was advertised as "sex ed with puppets, dance, and, of course, mythical creatures." Intriguing.
I had no idea what to expect. But, although it should have been obvious from the title if I had expended even an iota of thought, it was a paen to pegging, that lovingly-delineated-by-Dan-Savage act where a woman turns quietly to her partner and reams him in the butthole.
The show itself was about an hour long, and ranged wildly, yo-yo-ing from a little softshoe number between sexy lady Sophie and tame sweater-vested John, to clinically accurate descriptions of how the rear parts of the human body work, to a confessional-style therapeutic catharsis of John's feelings surrounding the act, to ukulele.
It was a bit difficult to hold such various presentations in one's head at any given time; the audience wasn't sure if they should be laughing or applauding or sympathizing or what. The show jumps from one emotion to the next with such rapidity and with little warning -- you never can tell what's coming -- that it leaves you feeling a bit wrung out and unsure what to think. Some parts of the show seemed to have been scripted, while others seemed improvised, although I've no idea; maybe the whole thing was improvised and it's different every night. The occasional word stumble and lack of "um"s indicate a more memorized spiel.
I can tell you what I thought, in the maelstrom of hopping thoughts: I thought how awesome it was to have a show on a major stage (at the Just For Laughs cabaret) that celebrated alternative sexual practices, explained them technically and humorously, and offered an opportunity for audience members to recreate pegging with pool noodles.
Of course I volunteered.
I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart to stand under a spotlight with a pool noodle between my legs, simulating butt sex with the assistance of a girl wearing a button down polo shirt and a strap-on harness and a guy wearing a frilly crinoline skirt. It was a testament to the weirdnesses I've seen at Burning Man that I mostly just thought it was hilarious rather than surreal, although the audience participation was somewhat lacking. If you're at the show already, you'd think you could muster a realistic moan.
As shows go, it was definitely still rough, with none of the polish that you might see after a few months of daily run; it still has the feeling of a test play. But it's a step in the right direction: education, acceptance, humour, fun.