Talk Explores Sex, WomenBy Ramy Arnaout
Bandstander Norman Nawrocki gave a Kresge Auditorium crowd a good time and something to think about last night at his comic-serious one-man show, "I Don't Understand Women."
The performance was sponsored by the Interfraternity Council as a Residence and Orientation Week event for its members, although it was open to the entire MIT community.
Nearly 700 freshmen and upperclassmen - about half of them women - were on hand to meet Ricky, his girlfriend Nancy, and about a dozen other of Nawrocki's characters. In a series of humorous five-minute sketches, these characters offered men advice on and explored many different aspects of male/female relationships, including understanding women's feelings, how to treat women, and rape.
Communication - the importance of listening to what women say about love and sex - was a ubiquitous theme. In "Nightmare on the Couch" - or, "When the Girlfriend Gets Serious" - a woman scared her boyfriend into conniptions by an out-of-the-blue conversation about responsibility, commitment, their future, and - dread of male dreads - her period.
Skits delve into sex, rape
As advertised, the sketches were always lively, and sometimes mildly shocking. In one skit, Nawrocki - a.k.a. a Doctor Ruth-esque Mrs. Robinson - gave a front-row male freshman an interactive lesson in how to excite a woman to orgasm.
But other skits were deadly serious. At one point, two characters had to come to terms with the rape or abuse of their sisters.
"I think the part about the rape was done pretty well," said Julie K. Hsieh '97. Nawrocki "was pretty serious about that, and that was good," she said. "It's important to realize that every girl could be someone's sister." That device made the performance more real, she said.
Performance received positively
"I thought it was a pretty decent production, for being a one-person production," said Grant I. Ho '97. "It raised some issues that men do encounter in society" - like homosexuality, rape, and sex. "It gave a good example of what men should be aware of," he said.
"I thought it was good that he covered a lot of issues, but Ithought it was bad that he made having sex sound like the norm," Hsieh said. "He was trying to make fun of stereotypes, but it sounded like at the same time, he was perpetuating them."
After the performance, Nawrocki, who makes a living playing in the rock band Rhythm Activism, explained his motivation for giving the performance.
"It's tough sometimes to address questions about" love, sex, rape, and commitment, Nawrocki said. The three-year-old show - which he has presented at almost every major university and college campus in Canada - gives people a chance to "deal with men's issues we normally don't while we're too busy being men," he said.