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Everything You Touch

Washington Ensemble Theatre


12th Avenue Arts Capitol Hill
Sept 21–Oct 8, 2018


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Recommended by Rich Smith

The premise of Sheila Callaghan's Everything You Touch is so bizarre. Jess, played by Kiki Abba, is a female coder working for a company on the coast. She learns that her mother's health is failing and decides she must return home to make amends. But home sucks and her mom sucks. Growing up, Jess's mom constantly administered withering critiques of her weight and appearance. This application of tough love ended up (surprise!) destroying Jess's ability to see herself as a person capable of receiving love. All that sounds pretty standard, but here's where it gets weird: On her journey home to confront all that, five women who exemplify contemporary beauty standards follow her around wherever she goes. She's also accompanied by Victor (played by Kevin Kelly), a misogynistic fashion genius who also serves as her lover, father, and maybe even just a figment of her imagination. Using beautiful women as props—and sometimes even props for props—leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but the metaphor reflects an uneasy reality. Beauty standards for women are oppressive, but they also arise from oppression.

Event Times
This event is in the past.
  • Sept 21–Oct 8, 2018