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Theater Offensive comedian plays the nice girl

Pretty Witty and Gay

The Theater Offensive.

Written and Performed by Marga Gomez.

April 14 to May 22.

By Gretchen Koot
Staff Reporter

At the performance of this one woman show, Marga Gomez did prove to be pretty, witty and gay, though witty doesn't describe her best. Screamingly funny is a more appropriate description. In the first few minutes of the show she brings the audience into her bedroom and into her hilarious, neurotic world. It is the night before she is scheduled to appear on a talk show about lesbians. Her nerves and then her noisy upstairs neighbors keep her awake, and she is driven to jump restlessly about the stage, talking all the while.

Gomez's comedy is refreshing for its lack of hatred or mean-spiritedness. Her character certainly becomes angry, but she satirizes herself while doing it. When her character dreams of screaming at a man she meets while on vacation in Europe, it's clear that it isn't because he is a straight white male and therefore deserving of such anger. It's because her girlfriend is flirting with him, and she is jealous.

While Gomez never seems vengeful, neither does she hold anything too sacred to lampoon. She ridicules the military for barring open homosexuals while wondering at the same time why anyone would want to enter anyway. "Don't you have to get up early there?" she quips. She mocks the stereotypical dyke image by describing the first lesbians she saw on a talk show. She says that they chain smoked, worked as truck drivers and were "uptight, bitter, and pathetic." This probably still is pretty much the general public's image of a lesbian, even after the work of Madonna and Sharon Stone. (Not that there is anything wrong with being an uptight, bitter, pathetic, chain smoking, truck-driving woman who loves women. It's preferable to being an ice-pick-wielding psycho, for example.) Religion also doesn't escape this woman's witty tongue, and although some of the jokes cover the standard subject of catholic guilt, Gomez's later conversation with God made up for the bits of stale material.

Much of Gomez's show is simply zany, such as when she pulls a notebook from under her bed saying that it is a lost diary of Anais Nin. Breathlessly, she reads an account of Nin's illicit encounter with Minnie Mouse.

As the show nears the end, Gomez shares her first meeting with a lesbian and all the feelings it provoked. She was enthralled, amazed, and infatuated. Gomez embodies the lovestruck woman with ecstatic teenage gushing. Afterwards she bursts into song with a wonderful rendition of "I feel pretty." It is the perfect close to the show, because the song is every bit as appropriate for Gomez's onstage persona as it is for the character of Maria in West Side Story. Don't most people who are in love feel the same way? Isn't there a sort of universal dorkiness that settles over the infatuated heart? If there was any message in this show, and I hesitate to pin a message on something that functions so well as pure entertainment, it was that people are too goofy in too many of the same ways to waste time trying to pigeonhole them into rigidly defined stereotypes.

This show was part of a series of shows called "Spic Out" presented by The Theater Offensive. The series was billed as the world's first lesbian and gay latino and latina theater series.