From the moment you enter the theatre at Boston Court, there are a dozen or so cartoons running of Betty Boop, the sexpot of made for adults 1930’s cartoons who was held captive by the desires of men. With the endless loops of the cartoony piano music along with the play’s title emblazoned in bold letters, we know we’re in for some fun.
Author Jen Silverman brings us a story of five distinct Bettys whose New York lives intersect and ultimately come together with the notion of putting on a play together borne out of their experiences. These are women of various ethnic, gender identity, sexual and socio-economic backgrounds who begin to rage against their oppressions and reclaim their power. The Bettys take us on a laugh out loud, absurd ride where each of them asserts their own version of being female and finds their hidden joy.
The always fantastic Elyse Mirto is the uptight, rich Betty who upon meeting the other Bettys is thrown into a whole new world that helps release her rage beginning at kickboxing lessons with Tracey A Leigh’s Betty, a tough talking African American lesbian just out of prison. Leigh’s funny, tough Betty is just the hard shell to the gooey, soft-hearted center that melts your heart. Anna Lamadrid is a delightful diva in a fierce performance. Nerdy Betty with no friends is played with goofy charm and sweet sincerity by Courtney Rackley and Karen Anzoategui as the butch Betty carrying a torch for her childhood friend has charisma for days that has you rooting for her every time she gets shot down.
Collective Rage is delirious entertainment, which is also purposefully benign and fundamentally human.
Collective Rage: A Play In 5 Boops runs through March 19. It is performed without intermission and is recommended for mature audiences. Boston Court-70 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena (626) 683-6883-www.bostoncourt.org for tickets & information.