As I drove home after Ding-a-ling, by Bring it Up Theatre,I questioned the relevance of a current play that talks about societal pressures on women, especially with regards to what makes them attractive. Then I heard on the radio that Beyoncé is worried her new short haircut on’t let her do her signature hair flip on her upcoming tour, so she’s bringing FORTY wigs on the road with her. Alright, it’s clear that this topic is still relevant. The fact that the majority of the audience for Thursday night’s performance were women shows at least some people are interested in something more meaningful than Beyoncé’s hair.
Ding-a-ling is the story of three young women trapped in a time warp at a speed dating event – they keep going on the same first date and need to find a way to get their date to be interested in them in order to escape the time warp. The characters are your usual suspects: the girly-girl, the Christian, and the naughty girl…. Or are they? As the clothes come off, the women’s true personalities are revealed and – lo and behold – they are able to escape the time warp!
On their FaceBook page, Bring It Up Theatre says, “We aim to open up healthy and education discussion about sex and sexual topics…” – Ding-a-ling certainly did that, for me at least. While some of the dramatic elements may have been done before – such as stripping off their uncomfortable clothes and showing their true personalities – the bones of the script are great. One of my favourite moments was when Charity (played by Noori Gill) fervently says, “I’m actually a b-cup”, or when the women agree on the “virtues” of thongs. Been there, done that… but no one talks about it! Moments like these brought me back to my teenage years – the years when developing our attitudes about gender and sex are on a hormone-driven overdrive. The play was great at stirring up my thoughts about who we, as women, are “supposed” to be in order to be accepted. It made me think about when I decided to stop reading Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan because in the end, they just made me feel bad about myself and who I was choosing to be. It made me think that my concerns about how women portray themselves – on film, on stage, and in real life – are justified and that we need to talk louder and more often about these topics. For me, Bring It Up Theatre accomplished what they set out to. While this play may still need some fine tuning, it’s worth checking out to experience what emotions and memories it brings up for you.
Ding-a-ling runs August 20, 21, 22, and 24 at Stage 5: King Edward School (8530 – 101 street). Tickets are $10 – $12.50.
– Jenna Marynowski