LU gets mixed (sex) signals

Regina Siefert

The signs were everywhere: “SEX SIGNALS 8 P.M. RIVERVIEW LOUNGE.” On a lot of the signs, that’s all that was written. Naturally, upon first glance at the word “SEX,” the reader’s interest was immediately piqued. “Sex?” we thought. “This ought to be good!”
This, perhaps, is why Riverview Lounge was so packed for the Oct. 6th show. Latecomers had to put up their own chairs where space was available. Some students sat in each other’s laps; some stood out in the hallway and looked in from afar.
“Sex Signals,” a traveling program put on by Chicago-based Catharsis Productions, had a simple premise: a two-person act, part scripted, part improvisation with audience participation. The message, at first, wasn’t as clear.
It started off humorously; the two actors, one male and one female, set up a scene in which the male actor tried to entice the female, using pickup lines yelled out from the audience. This, of course, made for a pathetically comical attempt. The woman was appalled by the man’s crude and weird behavior, while the man was certain the girl was falling for him. The actors then stopped the show to discuss how girls and guys often have very different perceptions of these situations. They discussed some stereotypes of men and women, also yelled out from the audience. “We’re supposed to be virgins every time,” the actress facetiously pointed out.
The next scene had the same idea: the male attempts to entice the female, only this time along with the pick-up lines, both actors had to behave according to the different stereotypes suggested from the audience. Again, the situation was downright pathetic. It was creepy, even, when the male started inappropriately touching the girl, and continued even when she was clearly uncomfortable. The actors again stopped the scene to discuss the differing fantasies men and women have for each other. The woman claimed that a man’s fantasy of the perfect woman is severely simple-minded, while the man countered that women don’t even know what they want. “You women don’t want a man,” he accused. “You want a cross between Brad Pitt and Oprah. And a porn star, too.”
The show suddenly took a serious tone, shifting its focus from sad excuses for pickups to sexual assault. The scene was a talk show, where the man tried to defend himself from the accusation that he raped a girl by explaining his side of the story. The audience was dumbfounded at first on how to react to this new situation. Instead of laughter, Riverview for a time was filled with uncomfortable silence. Again, the actors stopped the scene and discussed how mixed messages can lead to sexual assault. They asked for audience participation to evaluate the man’s recap of the night when he allegedly raped the girl, and how he could have interpreted her actions better. A lot of good points were brought up at this time, although some of the audience members seemed not to receive them as openly as the actors would have hoped.
Again, the show took a dramatic turn back to comical when the actors demonstrated examples of how potentially awkward a date situation could be after watching “Sex Signals” together.
Some points of the show were a bit cheesy, and clearly scripted. But overall, the show was entertaining and did have a good message: how to better interpret the different messages each individual may send out, creating better communication and thus, a better relationship.

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