Are you experiencing abdominal or pelvic cramping? Lower back pain? How about food cravings, headache or fatigue?
If you have these or other symptoms, and it’s been roughly three and a half weeks since the last time it happened, you probably don’t need me to tell you what’s going on.
It’s your period. And if you’re looking for someone to dish on the subject, Point…Blank…Period is waiting for you at the Capitol Fringe Festival.
The production is a mix of sketch, monologue and spoken word on the subject of menstruation. It looks at the excitement, trepidation, frustration, shame and annoyance women feel about their period, their ability to give life and their endlessly changing bodies.
And if ever I felt unequipped to make comment on a theatrical performance, this is the moment.
Regardless, show creator Tramaine Brathwaite deserves credit for assembling a show that’s light and entertaining, while also thought-provoking and full of meaning. And, along with Assistant Directors Tremayne Woodard and Kenya Morris, they’ve assembled a talented cast with the skills to do Point…Blank…Period justice.
Kenya Morris knows how to bring the funny as “Madam,” and there’s plenty of that to go around. Likewise Stella Sklar plays a good straight-woman, offering a solid performance that’s sometimes even a little brave.
But it isn’t all laughs. There are also poignant moments about abortion and menopause, where life and loss are front and center. The result: Real tears, both on stage and in the audience.
So it’s a job well done.
Of course, that’s not to say that every second is perfect. There are a few sketches that just don’t work. In one scene, girls getting ready to go out to the club are just plain mean to each other. And those aren’t my words – that was the handful of audience members behind me who were seriously put off by the moment. Some light edits here might go a long way.
But if there’s one thing that makes Point…Blank…Period work, it’s the light touch. At its core, the performance is a feminist work. Think Vagina Monologues, for the initiated. There’s occasional humor, dotted with tales of regret, shame and remorse.
But the play has none of the heaviness that comes with its sister-work. Point…Blank…Period is full of humor and mirth, and while there are touching and serious moments this isn’t a strictly feminist work.
This is a light-hearted dish about menstruation. And it’s quite a lot of fun.
by Tramaine Brathwaite
at Gallery – Goethe Institut
812 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Details and tickets
One point that would be a shame to overlook: The soundtrack to Point…Blank…Period. Don’t tune it out. Jamiel Callaway-Pinckney has produced a musical background that is subtle but strong. And from beginning to end, his work drives the transitions that make the larger work successful.
If there’s a mark against Fringe, it’s that the festival is the proverbial box of chocolates. You really never know what you’re going to get – good, bad and ugly.
Point…Blank…Period bucks the trend, because you know exactly what’s coming (especially if you read this review). It’s Vagina Monologues–lite, with less of the furrowed brows and more of the big laughs.
This is a play about menstruation, and it isn’t half bad.