Published on December 20th, 2012 | by Setsu Uzume0
Review: Crones for the Holidays
Fresh from the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival, Terry Baum and Carolyn Myers (aka A Coupla Crackpot Crones) bring their newest sketch comedy and improv show, “Crones for the Holidays”, to Stage Werx in San Francisco. As Crackpot Crones’ third holiday show — after “I Hate Valentine’s Day” and “Moms!” — you know you’re in for a treat when you see a Christmas tree, a Mayan Calendar, a window full of stars and a giant Menorah on the stage.
“Every year you see shows like The Nutcracker, The Velveteen Rabbit, and A Christmas Carol,” said Terry Baum, one half of the Crones duo. “We wanted to put on a show for the weirdos and perverts and blasphemers. You know, for us.”
The word ‘crone’ simply means a woman beyond childbearing age, and according to Baum the term has been used to frighten women, calling up images of witches and negativity.
“Here we are, owning that we are over 60 and we are old women,” said Baum in an interview with the SF Examiner. “From a feminist point of view, there is also the concept of crones being wise and powerful and having a deeper understanding of life.”
The two-act play is a hilarious take on the struggle to get through the holidays. In “Bubbie & Her Butch,” we learn whether it’s worse to wear dangly earrings or convert to Judaism, and how to broach the subject of sex with young children.
“I’m her bubbie,” said the newly minted lesbian played by Myers. “Bubbies aren’t supposed to have sex at all.”
There’s a ton of audience participation, including improv poetry and a sing-along of two carols, “Moishe the Green Nosed Herring” and “The Twelve Days of Family Insults”. The entire performance is a raucous and irreverent sleigh ride; yet in spite of the dirty jokes, Crones for the Holidays still manages to be poignantly touching.
“The Version Mary” brought up the paradoxical role of Mary as the “goddess of compassion” — though culturally, she has never quite achieved “goddess” status — summed up by the line, “man begat man begat man.” The piece also shed light on the controversy surrounding punk band, Pussy Riot, and the continuing struggle of women’s rights around the world. In the play, Mary offers her support to a young girl who, like her, was pregnant and didn’t know what to do.
Baum’s performance as Mary was so touching that she brought tears to my eyes.
“To love yourself — to save yourself — is not a sin,” said Baum as Mary. “Whatever you do you, have my blessing. I am always on your side.”
“The Last Best Christmas Eve Party” was also more straight-faced, recounting the death of activist and openly gay actress Pat Bond on Christmas eve. Baum was there that night, and she remembers how Bond’s family and friends still held a Christmas Eve potluck right there in the hospital room.
Alternately hilarious, raunchy and powerful, Crones for the Holidays puts on a good show, rejoicing in all aspects of the holiday season and shedding light on feminism, the feminine and the future of women’s rights.