A Millennial’s Grievances in “Woke Pussy”

Lead Article, Reviews

By Alex Miller
 
Rachel Griesinger plays a character of the same name, who has a show called “Toilet Time Time” on Instagram. During her performance, she drops her pants to her ankles and sits on a toilet while filming herself in vlog‑fashion, to talk about her innermost thoughts. What follows is an account of the predictable disappointments that any thirty‑something white feminist in New York can expect to encounter. Bad dates. Odd sex. An overabundance of first‑world problems that are epically terrifying to them, but which other, less self‑absorbed Americans might easily laugh off.
 
Ms. Griesinger’s character enjoys, or endures, a self‑deprecating life that at times verges on desperate. What we have here resembles a 30‑minute episode of “Girls,” and it’s something we’ve seen and heard too much of before.
 
What this play does well is shed light on what’s important to hipsters in Brooklyn: attempting to not be hipsters, and reading dark poetry at dive bars in “bad neighborhoods.” Each time Rachel mentions a Vice article or podcast about how society is being crushed by capitalism, the pretension of a thousand gentrifiers fills the room. The character is so vapid and unaware that it’s difficult to empathize with her.
 
Rachel has a first‑year college student’s definition of “woke,” but she is determined that she knows what the term means and how to use it. But her well‑meaning, liberal, open‑minded view of wokeness is just as naïve as a conservative periodical chastising “woke culture.” If only her character would acknowledge that she is hardly an authority on this matter. If only there were a moment of clarity in the final act, when the character comes to understand that other people have it much worse than her. Then, a greater joke might land, there might be a more profound arc of revelation, and the character might develop into something more than a cliché.
 
As it stands, Ms. Griesinger’s character does not evolve throughout the piece. None of her conversations or thought processes credibly shows that she has become “woke.” Even a little growth would have been better than none. The show is under forty minutes, but even after twenty, I found it tedious. So, keep that in mind if you endeavor to check it out.

 
Woke Pussy
Written and Performed by Rachel Griesinger
November 6 at 7:30 PM
Photo: courtesy of the production
2019 United Solo Theatre Festival
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
 
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ALEX MILLER, a Chicago native, has been a professional writer and editor for 6 years. He joined the Navy in 2004, and served for four years in such places as Haiti, Iraq, and Somalia. He has a degree in Public Engagement from The New School, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Forbes, The New York Daily News, and QZ, among others. He lives in Harlem.
 

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