The stage has always been a place to present and magnify some of life’s most difficult moments. A boy’s struggle to understand his peculiar friendship with his private parts, however, is a topic not often tackled in theater. “Me and My Dick,” a new musical presented by the student-run theater organization Basement Arts, tackles the taboo subject of sex during the teenage years by seeing what it would be like if we could communicate with our reproductive organs. Although this concept might appear to be a bit shallow, a humorous and heartfelt script along with solid casting and an intriguing yet twisted plot (and a number of subplots) keep the potentially superficial idea afloat.
“Me and My Dick”
At Walgreen Drama Center, Studio 1
Tonight at 7 and 11 p.m., tomorrow at 7 p.m.
“Me and My Dick” tells the story of classic nerd Joey Richter (played by Music, Theatre & Dance junior Joey Richter) and his best friend and notable body part Dick (played by Music, Theatre & Dance senior Joe Walker). Together, they desperately want to lose Joey’s “V-card” with the most beautiful Jew in the entire school: Vanessa (played by Music, Theatre & Dance junior Ali Gordon). Referred to as “Weiner Wild” by his classmates, Joey is always popping them at the wrong time and has no chance with the woman of his (wet) dreams.
Or does he?
The play takes on a degree of complexity as we’re introduced to each character’s genitalia. The plot ends up becoming more about the drama between reproductive organs than the relationships between the people.
Each character is accompanied by his or her private part, with body and part being held to together by a retractable dog leash. The Dicks’ costumes are flesh-colored sweatshirts and sweatpants with balloons near the ankles for testicles and a little pink stocking cap for … well, you get the picture.
Both men and women are cast as the Pussies, and they are adorned in a variety of pink apparel. One Pussy in particular, The Old Snatch (played by Music, Theatre & Dance junior Nick Joseph Strauss-Matathia), steals the show with her over-done accent, comically cynical outlook on love and show-saving plot to reunite Joey with his Dick after they are tragically separated.
So who came up with this ridiculous concept of people being followed around by their private parts?
“One of the writers came up with the idea after he had an unsuccessful night with a girl,” director and Music, Theatre & Dance junior Matt Lang explained. “She tried to have sex with him, and he tried to comply (though he felt a little weird about it) but he wasn’t able to get an erection. It got him thinking about this part of himself that he didn’t have conscious control of and was such a major influence in his life. If he could talk to his dick, what would he say? What would it say back? It seemed like a funny way to explore self-identity through sexuality.”
It may seem absurd to say that by getting to know your penis or vagina, you find out more about yourself, but within the context of the play, it works.
But let’s make something clear: “Me and My Dick,” although towing the line of inappropriate and offensive, is not explicitly sexual or shocking at any point.
“We have tried to keep the play very abstract,” Lang said. “There isn’t a lot of literal anatomy going on in the play. There’s much more focus on the emotional lives of the characters.”
Although the script has its share of memorable one-liners like “We don’t go to school for class, we go for ass” and “Foreskin, no skin, everyone’s in,” the production’s motivations are mostly pure.
“The play definitely is tackling a taboo subject, but our goal in this play is not to shock or offend,” Lang explained. “We want to explore the way sex plays into our lives in an honest and funny way. We hope that by the end of the play people no longer think about their genitals and the words we have for them as dirty.”
Crossing the line or not, “Me and My Dick” handles the issue of teens having sex better than most of those cheesy videos you watched in high school health class. Unfortunately, the play came a few years too late to help you through those turbulent adolescent times.