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Theater Review: Truth Values by Gioia De Cari

Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through MIT’s Male Math Maze by Gioia De Cari, one woman show about a female PhD student in the 80’s dealing with MIT’s still rampant sexist issues 

So I don’t usually do theater reviews, but I haven’t had a lot of time to read recently and went to this show at the local college campus. I really enjoyed the show and think it is an important thing to be discussed, since women still face a lot of both overt and covert and even subconscious sexism, especially in the hard sciences at this level of education. It is especially important to me since I’ll soon be starting a PhD in computer science, though the lab I am going to be in is a lot more welcoming than De Cari’s since it is pretty much an even gender split.

Title: Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze
Writer and Actress: Gioia (JOY-A) De Cari
Length: ~90 mins
Genre: Non-fiction Feminist Comedy
Premise: De Cari pursued a PhD at M.I.T. in the 80’s and faced rampant sexism ranging from the Dean of Women saying one stalker was good since “some women have five or more” to various professors and advisers suggesting she should be raising children and asking her to bring the cookies to the meeting since that’s what she’s good at. Delivered in a black box set up with only a chair and table for props, De Cari takes the audience through many short stories about her experiences during that time and how she ultimately found her true calling: theater.

Strengths:

  • De Cari is very good at impersonations and brings many people from her time at MIT to the show
  • The show was written very fluidly and it smoothly transitions from one quick story to another, while still painting a full picture of De Cari’s MIT career
  • De Cari is very animated and energetic, easily keeping the energy up through the whole hour and a half
  • On a similar note, the time flew because of that enthusiasm even though she’s obviously done this show many times
  • Very funny despite the infuriating material

Weaknesses:

  • When De Cari is speaking for herself, she pitches her voice strangely high at times which I honestly found grating and distracting….
  • Despite the frequent jokes, the show is obviously meant to bring up the issues of rampant sexism in our higher education, and many of the stories leave a bad taste, especially because not much has changed
  • There’s a sad part about suicide that might affect some people severely

Summary: I really enjoyed the show, and recommend it to people who think they would enjoy this sort of show. If you are interested in bringing her to your theater Unexpected Theatre’s website has the information about Truth Values. I also found the review by a current MIT student to be very interesting, because apparently De Cari’s comments on MIT’s atmosphere are still accurate unfortunately….

Has anyone else had a chance to see this show? Anyone go to MIT and want to comment on the current atmosphere there for women in the sciences?

-A

© 2012, Anya. All rights reserved.

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