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Theater Review: Drags and Cho Steal the Show

...Fierce Forever 6 Featuring Margaret Cho...: A Hilarious Event With a Message

By Tina Ro

“Fierce Forever 6 featuring Margaret Cho”

Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006

Kresge Auditorium

The rotating spotlight and loud dance music filling Kresge Auditorium set the mood Sunday night for Fierce Forever 6 - MIT’s annual student drag show. A performance that took months of planning resulted in a full house of eager students and visitors. The hot pink and black theme colors seemed most appropriate; the hot pink lights produced shadows upon the white sound panels in Kresge and gave the auditorium a modern, artsy look. While the show targeted the MIT student body with hopes of destroying gender stereotypes, it also turned out to be a humor-filled and entertaining evening for all.

The success showed evidence of detailed and organized planning. From security to the ticket design, the various teams and organization that put on this event did a spectacular job. Lighting, music, and schedule were all on cue.

During the show, drag kings and queens danced across the stage. The stage was set up with a runway extending into the audience, which contributed to the show’s desired effect. The costumes were flashy and thematic. Drag Queen Mitsy Diamond lit up the stage singing “Sparkling Diamonds,” from “Moulin Rouge,” in a black outfit studded with diamonds and sparkling jewelry to match. The outfits to the song “Dirrty” were combinations of red and black, with fishnets to accessorize. Even the thigh-high pink vinyl boots worn by Drag Queen Honey Dijon (Sylvain Bruni G) came off as tasteful and appropriate — at least for the act.

If the intention of Fierce was constant audience interaction, then the goal was definitely achieved; the audience was pumped before the show started and the excitement continued throughout the performance. The strobe lights and smoke added extra energy, and condoms thrown to the audience provided guests with souvenirs. Even when the The Toons, one of MIT’s a cappella groups, took the stage with a slightly less energized act, the audience happily joined the group by clapping to the music.

The evening’s success was definitely a team effort. Even during the duller moments of the show, other aspects managed to spice it back up to the high energy entertainment we were expecting. When the a cappella group performed, the audience’s silence was quickly broken by the clever cameraman’s zooming in on the men in tights. The audience responded with roars of laughter.

There was a noticeable difference between the performance of the students and of the experienced performers. Although the Jlo & Puffy act, performed by a cast of MIT students, included worn out insults on worn out celebrities, the host, Margaret Cho was able to bring back the fun. In contrast, “Thriller,” performed by All The King’s Men, received a standing ovation and was designated Cho’s personal favorite. The MIT mascot, Tim the Beaver, made his — or should I say her — appearance as Tammy the beaver, connecting the show with a feeling of school spirit.

As for the “Featuring Margaret Cho” special, the initial co-hosting on the separated ceiling stage was a disappointment. However, as the show continued, Cho’s energy increased. She didn’t seem like she was just reading from the clipboard she held the whole time on the side stage. At the end of her segment, Cho summed up the intentions of the show and her own beliefs. The majority of the audience cheered in agreement and laughed at her enthusiastic act. Her comedy topics ranged from homophobia to bears. The liberal audience that this event attracted fell over laughing. If being funny had been the only agenda, Cho’s jokes may have been accepted with unanimous laughs. However, because Cho performed with the intention of sending a message, the point she tried to convey became warped by her low tolerance of religion, Republicans, and even uneducated individuals who may live in trailer homes.

Overall, if the show was intended to reduce gender stereotyping in the MIT community, then the show was a success. At the beginning, I found myself trying to distinguish who was actually male and female. By the end, though, I was just enjoying the show; it honestly made no difference who was what. Exposure is the first step to gaining acceptance, and in an entertaining, creative manner, the Fierce Forever crew presented a show that achieved it. I even found myself coveting the beautifully sculpted calves on the drag queens. The Fierce Forever crew, including everyone behind the scenes, well deserved the ovation at the end. And if any members of the audience left unsatisfied with the show, well, at least they have ticket stubs providing free admission to Avalon or Axis.