Excellent! Funny! Must see!https://montrealrampage.com/fringe-festival-reviews-1-polyshamory
The Road To Opening in Broadway World
By Kate Robards
My play Ain’t That Rich, a true story of the complex relationship I have with money, runs at The Marsh San Francisco October 20 though December 2. To give you some context for this show, I grew up in a small town on the Texas-Louisiana border, the sixth generation in my family to grow up there. Where I’m from, the rich people in town own a funeral home and a fence company. Most people who leave either have parents who pay for them to go to college or they join the military.
My dad left, and then died, when I was a kid, and my mom raised two children on a meager salary. My town had the, “it takes a village to raise a child,” mentality, and people there made allowances for certain bad behaviors I displayed when I was young. We had help from family and neighbors.
I eventually worked my way through a small state college near my hometown, and while my mother would’ve loved to help me, she just couldn’t. She makes about 25k a year and she’s lucky to have her job. The American struggle of living paycheck to paycheck is real. But I by no means have ever been “poor.” My mom would distinguish, “Poor? No. Broke, yes. Poor says more than, ‘I don’t have money.’ It implies you’re poor of spirit. Well, we have spirit to spare and the ability to make more money come next paycheck.”
As I recount in my play Ain’t That Rich, I met and married a man who was on the opposite end of the financial spectrum. Having money changed me and my ideas of self. Suddenly things I always wanted were available without the struggle. I found myself in a loving relationship with someone who was stable and able to provide for me with ease for the first time in my life. I had access to healthcare and education without a struggle. Plus, I had loving in-laws and the nuclear family I’d longed for.
Ain’t That Rich might seem like a Cinderella story of poor-girl-marries-rich, but it’s not about my relationship with my husband, it’s about my relationship with money. With that comes looking at themes like cultural capital. I always had a library card growing up, and you don’t have to come from a well-to-do family to have one of those. I also walk through this world as a blonde, white woman who has all her teeth, so there’s a certain cache and ease that comes with that as well. But when I was growing up, I always wanted to hide the fact I was broke. Once I married into a family that was on the opposite monetary spectrum from mine, I noticed people treating me nicer. I wanted to scream: “I’M NOT WHO YOU THINK I AM! I’M NOT THE PRIVILEGED PERSON YOU THINK!” I also realized I became privileged in ways that have nothing to do with money.
It’s been a career goal of mine to get a run at The Marsh, which is coming true as Ain’t That Rich launches its seven week run. I have been seeing shows there since I first moved to San Francisco almost five years ago. Entering a dark, simple space and listening to intimate stories is magical. I developed this show with David Ford, The Marsh Artist in Residence. He taught me how to examine my inner self through performance. The deeper I examine the self, the more I learn that it is examining humanity.
The Marsh offers a place where a writer can have stories portrayed through skill and craft. I auditioned my first solo show at The Marsh a few years ago, and it wasn’t ready for a full run. That didn’t stop me from digging deeper and continuing to write. When I auditioned this show at The Marsh as part of their Rising Talent series, The Marsh Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman told me after the performance that she sees a growth in me as a performer and a writer. That’s all that I can hope for. Working with her team has helped me improve and develop Ain’t That Rich.
They believe in me as an artist and are producing my first professional run. Because of The Marsh team, I can continue to perform and write new stories. The country and world might seem divided right now, but when you listen to other people, you realize humans are more alike than different. Stories are the place where we discover our oneness. That’s what I’ve found at The Marsh, and that’s what I’m hoping to bring to audiences during my run of Ain’t That Rich
The title of the show – PolySHAMory – offers an important clue as to the nature of Robards’ experience with her husband – ex-husband – and their experiment in polyamory. The situation did not lend itself to marital bliss. However, as fuel to Robards’ creative storytelling, she mines her life from childhood onwards. Early on, Robards asks the audience if they want to hear about her childhood or failed polyamorous marriage. After several patrons express they want to hear about the latter, she responds, “Assholes.” It is amusing, not confrontational, and the monologue incorporates moments across her timeline anyway.
“PolySHAMory blends stand-up with dramatic narrative to create a hilarious story about the realities of the sexual fantasies and romantic nightmares we normally relegate to whispers and pop songs, while also packing an emotional punch in its darker moments.” DC Metro Theatre Scene
The show is constructed around Robards’ story of being thrust into a polyamorous marriage, a world of abundant love and more abundant confusion, a story which she delivers with a wry sense of humor, undercutting anecdotes of shoes lost in anger, and deep dives into The Ethical Slut with sarcasm and knowing nods to the seeming absurdity of her situation. As she narrates her descent further into “sex-positivity” with a performance directed by Maureen Monterubio, she leads the audience in a journey of skeptical acceptance into a non-traditional lifestyle. Robards’ jokes and winks create a comfortably comedic atmosphere, where we can laugh along to the difficulties of deciphering a
One-person plays are a tough gig, even if the performer isn’t delving into their own polyamorous past, alcoholism, or divorce. Yet several solo performers will dare to cross the lines of bold comedy and intimate confession at the 2018 Capital Fringe Festival.
Kate Robards, who premiered her first solo play, Mandarin Orange, at Capital Fringe in 2014, returns with the semi-autobiographical PolySHAMory, about her misadventures in multiple loving. “I don’t think of it as [being] the only one up there because I have audience members that I interact with,” she says. “And people give you energy. It’s a really beautiful thing, where people will make a face and you get to respond and make a face back. It’s a living, breathing, moment-to-moment experience. Plus, I’m playing all of these characters, so they’re kind of with me as well.”
The NYC theatre magazine Theatre is Easy has named PolySHAMory as a “Best Bet” for theatre and “Best of Frigid 2018”. Read Adrienne Urbanski’s review here.
You can still catch PolySHAMory at the Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street, New York, NY) on Wednesday, 2/21 at 10:30 PM, and Fri 3/2 at 5:10 PM. 60 minutes with no intermission. Purchase Tickets.
A funny story about how I met Kate begins with San Francisco. Every year San Francisco hosts a literature festival called Litquake, giving authors – famous or otherwise – read pieces of their writing work, poetry, speak on panels about the art of writing in the literary world. Kate and I both read a essay’s we had written and she came up to me after attempting to compliment my writing with her colorful accent but I immediately just wanted to be her friend once we discovered we were both from Texas and had found our way to the West Coast for various creative reasons.
“A winning comedy on money, class, and identity…truly impressive.”
Anya Leibovitch, Montreal Theatre Hub