Creative Peaks: Caught in the Rapture

By on May 2, 2018

Riot Act show weaves together feminism, comedy, life questions

Christopher Eichelberger as Don and Jessica Schiers as Gwen in Rapture, Blister, Burn. Co-director Katherine Godines described the play as a comedic crash course in women’s studies.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – When Kathleen Godines first read Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn she didn’t see the humor. “The second time I read it, I chuckled a little,” she said. “The third time, I cracked up and thought ‘Oh, I get it, I’ll do it.’”

Godines, who is co-directing the show produced by Riot Act Inc. with BJ Hanford, is always looking for the humor. And while she didn’t see it at first, Rapture, Blister, Burn is “amazingly cynical,” she said. “It’s got some great humor and some very intense scenes.”

The play features the stories of Catherine and Gwen who traveled opposite paths in life. Catherine went into academics, while Gwen became a homemaker. Decades later, both women find themselves unfulfilled in opposite ways, coveting the other’s situation.

The Dramatist Play Service describes the show as a comedy with “an unflinching look at gender politics in the wake of the 20th-century feminist ideals. It’s really about relationships and what that means for the modern world. It really questions if you can ‘have it all.’”

The story spans across three generations and asks questions about what it means to be a woman and the idea of equal rights, Godines said.

“They discuss the whole history of women and their place in the world and what they expect from their lives, what they can get from their lives and what they settle for in their lives,” Godines said. “It’s really interesting and sometimes hysterical.”

The play is almost a crash course in women’s studies, Godines said. It tackles everything from equal rights to pornography, as well as all the labels pinned on women.

“It’s not just about women’s movements, but also the perception of what women should be,” she said.

It looks at how things have changed, but also how they have stayed the same.

Godines and Hanford let the play develop organically to give it a natural feel, Godines said.

The intimate venue of the Elks Lodge is perfect for the show which features a five-person cast, she said. There are no big action scenes or musical numbers. It’s all about the dialogue. It has a minimal set, simple costumes and the audience is seated close to the actors.

“I want them to hear the script and see the actors’ faces—that’s where it’s all played out,” Godines said.

The show’s feminist themes fit with Riot Act’s season theme, “Women,” Macey Mott, a founder of the theater company and cast member in the show said in an email.

Mott, who runs Riot Act, plays Catherine. It’s the first major role she’s had in a show since 2015. Catherine’s character just clicked with her.

“She has incredible drive and has built this wonderful career, but she feels lonely in her personal life,” Mott said.

It’s a show that will likely leave people thinking about their own lives and relationships, Mott said. It also will have them thinking deeply about feminism—what it is and how it fits into everyday life.

“The play does a good job of showing how people who are pigeon-holed into certain life jobs actually are very dynamic and may want something different,” Mott said. “Gwen is so much more than just a housewife. Catherine wants a relationship even though she had a ‘superstar’ career.”

The other characters are also focused on how they want to live their lives. The show is an intellectual comedy, Mott said. People should expect to laugh as well as think about important issues. Profanity and sexual references make it unsuitable for young children, although teens likely will get something out of it, Mott said.

Mott will share the stage with Angel Dillon, Delia Compton, Chris Eichelberger, Linda Rode and Jessica Schiers.

Rapture, Blister, Burn is 7:30 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday and May 10 through 12 at the Elks Lodge. $15; $12 students and seniors in advance at riotactinc.org or at the door.

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