Review: Lost Words: Sex Edition


On Octo­ber 13, Pi Theatre’s Artis­tic Asso­ciates Pippa Mackie and Jeff Glad­stone and actors Tom Pick­ett and Bar­bara Ellen Pol­lard pre­sented the pro­gram for the evening to an eager audi­ence. The crowd lis­tened while mar­vel­ling at the party favours in their hands: pack­ets of con­doms for both men and women. Each actor was cos­tumed in a sim­ple white top and black bot­toms, with a few shirt but­tons left open sug­ges­tively. Mackie had pur­pose­fully put on ripped, black pantyhose.

Wel­come to the Sex Edi­tion, the first per­for­mance of the dar­ing series Lost Words. That night, the troupe would per­form three “very sexy…and twisted” plays which had been banned dur­ing the late 19th to 20th cen­tury. Lost Words, Mackie and Glad­stone explained, would fea­ture cheeky, redacted plays and all the sen­si­tive top­ics that come along with them. They closed the intro­duc­tion with a sim­ple ques­tion: “What’s more destruc­tive to a soci­ety than…a bunch of artists?” The audi­ence clapped and laughed, and the show began.

The per­form­ers had selected scenes from Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awak­en­ing, Michael McClure’s The Beard, and Thomas Bradshaw’s Inti­macy. Orgasms took place on stage, and sto­ry­lines touched intre­pidly on pedophilia, incest, and pornog­ra­phy, yet every­thing was per­formed poet­i­cally. In between each play, they per­formed songs which had also once been cen­sored. Ren­di­tions of “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)” and “Colt 45” (dur­ing which my friend said to me, “This song is a mas­ter­piece!”) light­ened the mood of an oth­er­wise intense performance.

The audi­ence that night were observ­ably respect­ful, open-minded, and so ready to have fun. Some of us, admit­tedly, made uncom­fort­able noises at moments dur­ing the scenes with explicit content—but these were hon­est, unin­hib­ited reac­tions, not signs of dis­ap­proval. I don’t think the provoca­tive the­atre acts I saw that evening would have had the same impact or appeal at a dif­fer­ent venue, with a less appre­cia­tive and accept­ing audience—a pleas­ant assur­ance for our “no fun” city.

Luck­ily, there is more to come from Lost Words: on Decem­ber 1, the cast will tackle another cringe-worthy sub­ject: Religion.

Lost Words: Reli­gion Edi­tion takes place at The Emer­ald on Decem­ber 1 at 8:30 pm. Tick­ets will be avail­able on the Pi The­atre web­site and at the door.