Photo by Gareth Gooch
Marga Gomez wants you to know one thing: the constant reiteration of the lesbian as a depressed and/or angry woman is utter bullshit. In fact, she makes it pretty clear that almost all of pop culture's representations of lesbians are bullshit. Within minutes of taking the stage in Pound, her one-woman show at Dixon Place's Hot! Festival, she calls to mind her possibly lesbian character in 1997's Sphere (yup, she was the actress that shared three lines with Queen Latifah) who dies in the first 30 minutes of the film, Netflix's happy lesbians in prison, and the inept lesbian extortionist played by Dame Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal.
Yet, this is only where Gomez's hilarious one-woman show begins. Over the next 80 minutes, Gomez discovers that her flat vulva clearly indicate that this celesbian (that's lesbian celebrity, in case you weren't sure) is celibate. Unable to hide this fact from her doctor, Gomez spins through a dizzying array of lesbian filmic references before an unfortunate fisting incident fortunately lands her in a mystifying world filled with celluloid lesbians turned real.
In her own Xanadu (naturally without the roller skates), Gomez really lets loose and reclaims lesbian autonomy for lesbian women. Earlier in the show, she takes loose jabs at the film industry when she points out that the French film Therese and Isabelle, based on a novel by lesbian writer Violet Leduc, was adapted for the silver screen by a man. But, in her lesbian Bermuda Triangle of sorts all conventions and pretenses are tossed aside. Here Gomez comically utilizes existing and modified lesbian stereotypes to paint portraits of real lesbian women, she interacts with Childie from Killing of Sister George, Sandy Dennis as Jill Banford from The Fox, and most importantly Catherine Trammel from Basic Instinct.
With every twist and turn, Gomez finds a way to keep the audience thinking and laughing. Grinding her ax, her sharpened and clever wit exposes the foibles of the lesbian through the lens of pop culture and stakes a claim to alter the identity from film and television and to turn it into something positive, intelligent, and uplifting. This point is perfectly driven home in her frank discussion of the way The Children's Hour ends versus the ending of the real story upon which it is based.
Relevant social commentary spun into hysterically entertaining comedy gold is always a treat. Gomez achieves this with aplomb.
Through July 25, Pound is part of the 24th Annual HOT! Festival at Dixon Place, NYC.