My Christian Penis

Picture yourself a 20-something secular humanist, liberal in politics and agnostic in religion. In other words, a  2010 Everyman, smug and complacant and oh so typical.

But now imagine that your penis has a mind of its own. Or as Woody Allen once pointed out, “when the blood rushes to your penis, it leaves your brains behind.”   
Now furthermore imagine that your penis has its own personality (perverse) and indeed it has taken its own name. In fact, let’s give the right honorable member the name “Manfred,” for that’s what playwright T. Tyler (nom de plume?) names the “Christian penis” in this play. Now confront the fact also that your Manfred is a gay-bashing, tea bagging right-wing fundamentalist and (no real surprise here) a possibly self-loathing gay penis to boot, worried aplenty about going to Hell for its irrepressible homoerotic impulses.

Now we have the high-concept of this 75-minute comedy (at least twice as long as this modest premise might safely allow.) But as these things often go, the playwright’s imperative must evidently have been the notion that longer is better.   True, there are a few frankly funny moments thanks to several in the cast who pull out all the stops, but, in the end, My Christian Penis cries out for circumcision.

Manfred’s host (Matthew Ward) is wise enough to despise his wanton Manfred (voiced plaintively with singsong determination by David Berkenbilt.) whose hijinks land him in jail, and, later, gets him thrown into a psych ward. Nick Hanson is effective as a kind of penile cheering-section as is Stephen Brady in one role as a right-wing TV personality who warns of gay seduction.

Later on, two cavemen and one cave-woman listen raptly to Manfred’s discourse about moral codes and salvation and the doctrine of original sin. Remember that Manfred is a right-wing fundamentalist who contends that society went to rack and ruin with contraception and socialism. “The liberals would have aborted Jesus,” he swears, also predicting that liberals are surely about to take away that great phallic extension for the NRA – guns. The show closes with a series of taunts to right-wing radio personality Dr. Laura Schlesinger whose broadcasts frequently cite Leviticus 18:22 to claim that homosexuality is an abomination.

“We would like to thank the Capital Fringe Festival for existing and allowing artists to express all sorts of crazy stuff,” declare the producers in the playbill and director and Fringe-first-timer Lauryn McCarter admits she “has yet to direct a show that will not embarrass” her mother.

My Christian Penis

by T. Tyler
directed by Lauryn McCarter
reviewed by David Hoffman

Running time:  75 minutes

Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.

Did you see the show?  What did you think?


  1. David Hoffman says:

    The comment is correct that the play does NOT end with the taunts to Dr. Laura, that is only in the playbill, and in  the process of moving from writing to editing this point was not carefully noted.  Otherwise, as the reviewer in question, I stand by my assertion  that the Christian penis feels it shall go tp Hell at least in part because of its desire for same sex eroticism.

  2. Well, I think it’s painful to watch a satire when you don’t understand what’s being satirized (I’ve been there before), so I can see how the reviewer thought it was too long. I think you’d have to know something about Christian fundamentalism to see anything more than a talking penis.
    Example: The reviewer says that Manfred, the penis, is worried about going to Hell because of his homoerotic impulses. That’s not why. He’s worried about going to Hell because he’s attached to a Jew. Check into what the evangelicals believe: anyone who doesn’t accept Jesus is going to Hell, regardless of how good they are. Anyone who does accept Jesus automatically goes to Heaven, no matter how they treat others.  Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, all of the other gay gay-bashing hypocrites, are A-OK in the eyes of Christian fundamentalism. Jeffrey Dahmer is in good shape, too. Gandhi, on the other hand…
    All of this is a far more frightening mindset than it usually gets credit for. I have to believe that instant salvation/damnation makes it a lot easier to napalm villages and kill 100k+ Iraqis; they were all going to Hell anyway, and there’s no penalty for doing so, if you’re guaranteed Heaven regardless. So, that’s what the play was about. A talking penis was the most comic and most *right* way to communicate the message.
    (BTW, the show doesn’t close in a way resembling how the reviewer says it does. He’s referring to some light reading in the program.)
    That said, thanks for the kind words about the acting! That will be encouraging to them, as most are just starting out. I think they’ve all done a wonderful job and I’m delighted to know each of them.  



Anti-Spam Quiz:

Reprint Policy Our articles may not be reprinted in full but only as excerpts and those portions may only be used if a credit and link is provided to our website.
DC Theatre Scene is supported in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC.