JENNIFER BLAINE PLAYS 1 WISECRACKING GRANDMA AND 8 FAMOUS ACTIVISTS IN TIMELY NEW SHOW DIRTY JOKE
July 24, 2013 – Jennifer Blaine, Philadelphia’s acclaimed solo performer, comedienne, and playwright “whose comic genius is like Lily Tomlin and Tracey Ullman” (Philadelphia Daily News) will perform her newest one-woman show “Dirty Joke” as part of the 2013 FringeArts festival.
Performances will take place Saturday, September 14 (4 p.m.), Sunday, September 15 (5 p.m.) and Tuesday, September 17 (8 p.m.) at the Off Broad Street Theatre, 1636 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $20 and available at www.jenniferblaine.com,
Jennifer Blaine has performed with the likes of Chris Rock, George Carlin, and Joe Piscopo, and has brought her smart, irreverent humor to premier venues and festivals nationwide. Jennifer is renowned for her extraordinary ability to shift between characters across age and ethnicity; her shows are a balm for those craving some comedy, candor, and inspiration.
“Dirty Joke” centers on one of Jennifer’s most popular characters: Ruth, an elderly Jewish woman with a penchant for off-color humor. Ruth sings, dances, tells jokes, and makes light out of the dark moment in which she finds herself — struggling to hold onto her apartment. 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;
- 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: Nobel Prize-winning “banker to the poor” who established 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. Although she is deeply attached to her home and her intention to keep it, she willingly enters into other character’s worlds and worldviews. 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 conceived of and produced the critically acclaimed 2012 Philly Fringe show “EvictionProof PeepShow Home.” Vashti co-founded the Mumbo Jumbo Theatre Company in NYC in the 1980s, championing female artists of color such as actresses Lisa Gay Hamilton (Beloved) and Hazel Goodman (Deconstructing Harry), and playwrights Lynn Nottage and Adrienne Kennedy.
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.”
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 showcases the creativity of women artists in all media. In that spirit, for FringeArts, Jennifer and Vashti are employing as many women artists as possible including the set designer, publicist, make-up artist, stage manager, and costume designer.