Marisa Marquez in A FALLOPIAN FAIRY TALE.
BOTTOM LINE: Marquez's humorous script and talent as a storyteller make this solo show hilarious, relatable, and at times touching.
The Disneyfied fairy tales shoved down the throats of young girls fill them with future aspirations of being princesses, and do little to prepare them for the real world, which is the idea behind Marisa Marquez’s (semi) autobiographical show A Fallopian Fairytale. Marquez frames her own tale--of discovering her sexuality and figuring out her own beliefs while growing up in a strict Catholic Filipino family--within her book pitch for a more realistic fairy tale. Marquez gives a typical princess-centered fairytale a dose of Judy Blume, to show girls that their experiences with romance and sexuality are not going to resemble the story of Cinderella.
The goal of the book Marquez pitches is to “take the pink from the princesses and put it back in the pussy.” Due to the unexpected arrival of her first menstrual cycle at a ball, the princess is known as The Scarlet Princess. Rather than having a fairy godmother, she has a fairy gyno-mother who offers her condoms and birth control pills to prepare her for her budding romance with a handsome prince. The story is accompanied by a slide show of cute illustrations drawn by Gabriella Miyares.
Interspersed within the story of The Scarlet Princess is the story of Marquez trying to make her own sexual decisions away from the strict control of her Catholic parents, who lecture her about not having premarital sex even when she is 30 years old. As a 21-year-old college student at a Jesuit university, Marquez had to go to the school clinic to procure birth control pills. While there, she is told that due to the religious beliefs of the university she can only be prescribed the pill if she is suffering from cramps. After an awkward silence, Marquez tells the gynecologist that she is suffering from terrible cramps. In the show’s most humorous scene, Marquez must be examined while gazing at the Catholic icons that decorate the wall, something that fills her with guilt. She gazes at a crucifix and says, “it was like Jesus was examining me while dying for my sins.” Years later when she is diagnosed with cervical cancer due to HPV, she must inform her parents and thus admit that she has in fact partaken in premarital sex.
Marquez is an engaging and animated storyteller capable of maintaining an audience’s attention with confidence. She showed off her talent last year as well during her critically acclaimed show Yellow Brick Wall: Angry White Men Played by Two Happy Asian Girls. While Marquez’s story of a more realistic princess is a cute gimmick around which to build her show, A Fallopian Fairy Tale is most interesting and touching when she delves into her own life experiences. And that is when I found myself wanting to hear more--I wanted more details and focus to be given to her struggle to express her sexuality despite her religious guilt. However, as it is, the show is plenty entertaining and solicits many guffaws from the audience. Women in particular are sure to find this show both funny and relatable.
(A Fallopian Fairy Tale plays at CSV Kabayitos Theater, 107 Suffolk Street, through August 24, 2013. Remaining performances are Wednesday August 21st at 5:30PM, Thursday August 22nd at 8:45PM, Friday August 23rd at 9:30PM and Saturday August 24th at 8PM. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door and are available at fringenyc.org or by calling 866-468-7619.)