“In a world where a man is supposed to save you, there’s no worse betrayal than saving yourself”. Ellie MacDonald spews venom in her one-woman show entitled Crazy Bitch, an introspective journey through the various social constructs that define and restrict the modern day woman. The collaborative brainchild of MacDonald and fellow stand-up comedian Emma Wilkie, the show seeks to pinpoint the origins of the term crazy bitch and how it has been used to define women for generations.
MacDonald charms the audience with honest dialogue that tells of her own life experiences with marriage, pregnancy and womanhood in general. She suggests early on in the show that the term crazy bitch is generally used to label women who disagree with men, while simultaneously discrediting them. MacDonald is a natural storyteller who carries the audience through a fairly straightforward timeline of personal experiences, from when she was a young girl being taught that her only value was in relation to the man standing beside her, to having to navigate the complications of matrimony and motherhood. She doesn’t hesitate to rail against the notion that women are princesses waiting for their prince to come along and complete their fairy tale, nor to express the toxicity that this fantasy perpetuates.
The show opens with footage of MacDonald on what looks to be her wedding day, as she is outfitted head to toe in white taffeta and running toward her fiancé, her true raison-d’etre. The show provides a good balance of harsh realities and cheeky humour, managing to advance its feminist agenda without coming across as rant-y or pedantic. MacDonald clearly points out the inconsistencies associated with heteronormative gender politics and its troubling prescription for young females, reaffirming the ground breaking concept that women should be living their lives in pursuit of their own personal goals and ambitions, not merely to placate their partner.
Crazy Bitch consists primarily of a series of anecdotes from the real life experience of MacDonald, delving into such serious topics as divorce and postpartum depression, while somehow maintaining lightness. The comedian looks at how women are portrayed as docile creatures, princesses, but upon refusing to fulfill these roles that have been thrust upon them are quickly villainized. She states: “Raise your voice, but don’t talk too loud or too much. Be sexy, but don’t actually have sex”. In saying this, she is referring to the ways in which women are objectified in patriarchal society, and how it is expected that a woman’s actions will revolve around what is desirable, or at the very least socially acceptable by male standards. As soon as a woman expresses interest in deviating from these social constructs, she is quickly demonized and categorized as a crazy bitch, the way in which society deals with people who are not living up to the roles imposed upon them.
There is so much subtext to what is actually being said by MacDonald. The show is most certainly comedic in nature, though it does touch some heavy topics. Overall it is very enjoyable to watch, offering many opportunities to laugh out loud while supporting two women in the industry who are passing along an important message: “We spend our whole lives pretending to be something that doesn’t exist, in order to attain something that doesn’t exist”.
Review by Montreal Theatre Hub Fringe Contributor Anya Leibovitch
Hairy Bird Productions presents “Crazy Bitch”
When: June 2-18, 2017
Where: The Wiggle Room, 3874 Saint-Laurent, H2W 1Y2
Duration: 45 minutes
Box Office: www.montrealfringe.ca | 514.849.FEST (3378)
Official Media Partner of the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival