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A Coming of Rage Musical

Updated: Apr 4

My one complaint about Teeth: A Coming of Rage Musical is that it's live theatre, so I cannot watch it over and over again.

For the sake of entertainment, I loved Playwrights' production, starring Alyse Alan Louis and Will Connolly, and directed by Sarah Benson. The entire creative team deserves praise: the bleak and stark set emphasized the confinement of evangelical structures, the costumes clearly developed character from the predatory pastor to the promise keeper girls to the incels, and the special effects hit notes of gore and camp beautifully. I went to vacation Bible school in this church. I heard this language in Sunday school and at family dinners. I've known these girls, and the struggle to navigate identity when leaders are telling you you're wrong, bad, or sinful. And my religious upbringing was minimalist, with no pressure to return to a church once I denounced my "faith." Teeth knows these stories and spaces and dynamics well, and speaks to an intended audience who is all-too-familiar with what Dawn is facing.

Alyse Alan Louis truly gives the role of Dawn everything; she is unhinged, using her movement as effectively as her voice, and giving excellent face. I noticed no weak links in the electric ensemble cast. I was repulsed by Connolly as Brad and Pasquale as Pastor; my heart broke at Ryan's betrayal in the face of overwhelming social pressure; the language of the incels and promise keeper girls was almost too real. I had an absolute blast, and Dr. S and I gave the production a rare but deserved standing ovation.

Conceptually, the story isn't perfect: trading one totalitarian religious cult for another is not an improvement. As much as I enjoyed Dawn's revenge against the representative of systemic oppression against women in religious communities, she's not improved or truly empowered by becoming "Goddess."

But did that lessen my enjoyment? Nope. I loved it, and hope to see it again.

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