JENNIFER BLAINE PLAYS 8 REAL-LIFE ACTIVISTS IN TIMELY NEW SHOW DIRTY JOKE
World-premiere performance on November 30 at The Ethical Society
November 6, 2012 – Jennifer Blaine, Philadelphia’s acclaimed solo performer, comedienne and playwright “whose comic genius is like Lily Tomlin and Tracey Ullman” (Philadelphia Daily News), will debut her newest one-woman show “Dirty Joke” at 8 p.m. Friday, November 30 at The Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pa. Tickets are $20; for information and to purchase, call 215-546-1612 or visit www.jenniferblaine.com.
Jennifer Blaine has performed with the likes of Chris Rock and Joe Piscopo and brought her smart, irreverent humor to premier venues and festivals nationwide. “Dirty Joke” is particularly timely on the heels of the presidential election—when social and political issues are top of mind, and many people are craving some comedy, candor, and inspiration.
Jennifer is renowned for her extraordinary ability to shift between characters across age and ethnicity. “Dirty Joke” centers on one of Jennifer’s most popular characters: Ruth, an elderly Jewish woman with a penchant for off-color humor. As Ruth convenes “the first live superwoman conference” (which also happens to include a man), Jennifer portrays 8 real-life changemakers who have made a significant impact on our world:
- Madeleine Albright: The first female U.S. Secretary of State, who advocated for democracy and human rights;
- Arianna Huffington: President and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and author of 13 books—twice named to the Time 100;
- Caroline Casey: Blind Irish activist who rode 1,000 kilometers across India on an elephant to raise funds for Sightsavers;
- Kiran Bir Sethi: Pioneering Indian educator who founded the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, focused on engaging young people and making cities more child-friendly;
- Majora Carter: Founder of Sustainable South Bronx who coined the term “Green The Ghetto,” and the recipient of MacArthur “genius” Fellowship;
- Cindy Sheehan: American anti-war activist who protested outside of President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch after her son was killed during the Iraq War;
- Wangari Maathai: Nobel Prize-winning Kenyan activist who, as founder of the Green Belt Movement, planted millions of trees with women’s groups;
- Muhammad Yunus: “Banker to the poor” who established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, fueled by the belief that credit is a fundamental human right.
Beyond celebrating each individual’s incredible accomplishments, Jennifer brings to life their lesser-known and very relatable struggles, fears, and insights. As Jennifer explains, “When I craft a character, I start from an inner sense of who the person is and what motivates them. I study their history, listen to them speak and zero in on their gestures, posture and gait. Then there comes that shift from being just a snippet of a person into a living, breathing tribute.”
Inspired by one of Jennifer’s relatives, the character of Ruth challenges the audience’s expectations of what an elderly person will say or do. Ruth provides the throughline of comic relief because, as Jennifer explains, “Laughter is a gateway to talking and thinking about larger social justice issues.”
“Dirty Joke” marks Jennifer’s fourth collaboration with director and fellow Wesleyan University graduate Vashti Dubois — who most recently conceived of and produced the critically acclaimed 2012 Philly Fringe show “EvictionProof PeepShow Home.”
Explains Vashti, “’Dirty Joke’ allows us to see what Jennifer does best, which is inhabit the personalities and stories of ordinary and extraordinary people to connect all of us to some of the most interesting thinking that’s out there. And for me, working with Jennifer on ‘Dirty Joke’ is an opportunity to introduce people to Ruth’s ability to make sense of the world not just for her but for all of us.”
It’s no coincidence that Jennifer’s latest show features a “conference of superwomen.” In addition to keeping a busy schedule as a solo performer and comedienne, Jennifer is the founder of The 5,000 Women Festival — which has featured accomplished female artists of all disciplines for the past two years at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. According to Jennifer, “The intention of the festival is to showcase the creativity of artists in all media and ultimately gather together 5,000 presenters to perform and share works, exchange ideas, and inspire change in our world.”