Monday, March 06, 2006
Stop what you're doing right now, go to the telephone, call Sacramento Theater Company, and order tickets for the production of Insides OUT! the powerful one-woman show by Katie Rubin. It's that good.
Insides OUT! is a no-holds barred, emotional, funny, gut-wrenching look at the 29 year old Rubin’s journey through alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, food addiction, and self-loathing throughout her high school and college years and ultimately, to the path of recovery. While this sounds like a heavy evening – and, in spots it is – Rubin makes the one hour piece a mesmerizing experience. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer. Not bad for an hour’s work.
In a sort of prolog, Rubin talks with the audience and explains that in her study of Carl Jung, she learned that the human psyche is made up of several different archetypal characters. Rubin has identified seven different characters in her own psyche and has named most of them. As she begins the formal part of her program, Baby Katie (who is 6 years old) takes over to tell the story. She is joined by The Perfect Monster, whose job it is to remind Big Katie of what a terrible person she is, and that no matter what she does, it’s never good enough. Then there is Hank, “the Trickster,” who leads Big Katie to alcohol, drugs, food, and heavy partying, and in party mode Sylvia, “the Romantic,” takes over as the archetype who can’t get enough sex. Sylvia figures that if Katie can just find the right man, she’ll never have to work again.
Somewhere in the middle of all these conflicting characters, there is a “wise woman” whom Big Katie stumbles upon in a bathroom mirror one day, whom she gradually learns to trust, and who helps her to put all of the others in their place.
The piece itself uses comedy, poetry, song, improvisation and monologue to tell the story, and we see that, despite the criticism of The Perfect Monster, Rubin is more than adept in each area. Her singing voice is particular strong and her poetry is raw and filled with emotion.
She brings a message which will resonate with most people and she has such an open, likeable demeanor that she creates a safe place from which to begin to identify your own archetypal characters.
Rubin began her career as a comedic writer/performer at Amherst College with her first original piece, “PartyBoobyTrap.” Her second play was produced through the 2000 New York Fringe Festival. "Insides OUT!" is her third original piece and her first one woman show.
She is a graduate of the Theater and Dance program at Amherst College. She has studied at the Wynn Handman Studios, at Annie Bogart's SITI Company and has an MFA from UC Davis. Rubin’s involvement with recovery and the 12-step process has led her to perform this one-woman show at recovery centers.
The press release for this show warns that “Insides OUT! contains mature subject matter and language and is appropriate for high school and college age audiences and above.” Given the insecurities of high school students in general, and the difficult life decisions they are often forced to make, I feel this show is not only “appropriate” for high school students, but might go so far as to say attendance at this show should be encouraged for high school age students.
The show is booked for a nine-week run at Sacramento Theater Company. Following each performance there is a question and answer session with Katie Rubin, who creates a palpable bond with her audience, which makes in-depth questions safe to ask.
Run, don’t walk, to the Sacramento Theater Company and see this show. You won’t be sorry that you did.