â€œWe make the The Vagina Monologues look like The Sound of Music,â€ Donna Ison smiles into her Makers. Weâ€™re enjoying a cold one at Sidebar and talking all things provocative, including the upcoming performance, â€œPanty Raid: a pajamarama of epic proportionsâ€ by the Sisters Provocateur at Natashaâ€™s, this Thursday, August 12, at 8:30 PM (tickets are $8).
For Ison, author of The Miracle of Myrtle: Saint Gone Wild and Flirtini With Disaster, turning heads on and off-stage is nothing new. The actress, novelist, and historical dramatist (I could go on), is no stranger to raising eyebrows. Her writing and personal style are known for being candid, humorous, and risque, and rivaled only by her savvy stage presence.
Ison is a founding member of the new all-woman theater troupe, The Sisters Provocateur. Through poetry, dance, song, and games, the Sistersâ€™ mission is simple: â€œto promote the idea that poetry doesnâ€™t have to be pretentious, sexy doesnâ€™t have to be skinny, and brainy doesnâ€™t have to be boring.â€ Funded in part through a Kentucky Foundation for Women “Arts Meets Activism” grant, the troupe is comprised of local writers and performers along with Ison, Sunny Montgomery, Kate Hadfield, Renee Rigdon, Kirstin Preston, and this performanceâ€™s special guest, Jessi Fehrenbach. The pastel posters for the performance can be spotted all over town, including Lexingtonâ€™s resident Hustler store.
Art enthusiasts who attended the Lexington Art Leagueâ€™s Fourth Friday event in June, had the pleasure of a peek at the Sistersâ€™ debut performance, “Maidenform Mayhem,” a 50’s-esque dating game which included a dance number and a scene where each woman stripped down, quite literally, to who their characters really were. â€œIt went wonderfully,â€ Ison says, â€œWe did two shows that night, one inside and one out in the courtyard.â€
When describing what the audience can expect, she runs down a list that starts to sound like a combination of what you learned in high-school Health class, what you heard about in the locker room, and what you find out in the back of your first boyfriendâ€™s car. â€œIt starts out as a slumber party. There will be games, quizzes, educational facts about sex. We play â€˜Never Have I Ever.â€™ Whoever makes a statement that no one can drink to wins a gift basket of sexual aids.â€
Where does a troupe get fodder like this for their performances? Ison says they harvest material from their personal lives. Though their writing styles and topics are varied, the Sisters have one perception in common, â€œNothing can be gratuitous. Everything has to be empowering and enlightening. Everything has to be honest.â€ A script like “Panty Raid” comes about through conversations over their individual material. She canâ€™t help but laugh when recalling some of the informal conversations in her living room that make it onstage, â€œOur scripts are kind of like Dr. Ruth meets cabaret. Sometimes I have to stop to ask, â€˜can we really say this, can someone Google that to make sure itâ€™s not outlawed in some states?â€™â€
Itâ€™s not hard to envision the “Panty Raid” content if youâ€™ve ever caught a snippet of the Bourbonista Blog on Isonâ€™s website: http://www.donnaison.com. The Sisters also keep a website up where they regularly blog http://www.sistersprovocateur.com. Imagine being in a slumber party with these ladies and you get the idea:
When we scheduled this show back in early April, I told myself I had plenty of time to drop fifteen pounds and tone up. I was going to do yoga every morning in my sunroom at 6:30am. I was going to eat like a fruit bat. I was going to rejoin Jazzercise. I was going to cut out carbs. I was going to drink less booze and more water. I was going to do calf raises when I did the dishes and squats while I brushed my teeth. I was going to go organic. I have done none of these things.
You know, Iâ€™ve had a few people in my life (ok, so maybe more than a few), that have really urged me to find that traditional life.Â They havenâ€™t understood that I am an artist, that I will always be an artist, and that Iâ€™m going to lead an artistic life.Â This means Iâ€™m probably going to have several menial kind of jobs over my lifetime.Â Dinnerâ€™s going to be around 9 p.m., if I even get to it, because honestly, I might just smoke a few cigarettes instead while Iâ€™m praying that the muses find me.
Once, long ago, I bought a pink bathrobe. Â I am not typically a â€œpinkâ€ girl, but the idea of a fuzzy pink bathrobe to wrap up in on days when I was feeling low seemed perfect. Â And, it was marketed using my third favorite word of all time: Â Clearance. At first, the bathrobe was just fine. Â Iâ€™d put it on for morning coffee, and promptly change into my day clothes after. Â As winter turned to spring, I found the robe was too warm for daily wear, and it gradually fell out of use. Â As close as I can tell, this is when the robe developed some sort of revenge complex. Â I had abandoned it, and it would make damn sure that any time I cast eyes on it, it would make my life hell.
Let me begin todayâ€™s blog by saying that I am in a super foul mood. And so my random weekly confession will be appropriate: I hate babies. And by babies I mean any child under the age of 8. Okay, I hate 99% of babies. My best friend, Steph, just had a baby a few weeks back and I donâ€™t hate himâ€¦yet…Anyway, babies suck. They ruin everything fun. Even grocery shopping which isnâ€™t that fun to begin with. Seriously, I hate parents that let their children push the grocery cart as much as I hate babies. I hate how babies are always staring at youâ€¦ it makes me really anxious. I hate how parents bring babies out on restaurant patios and then evil-eye you for smoking a cigarette at the next table. I hate how babies donâ€™t have the neck strength to hold up their big heads and so you have to do it for them.
Dear Babies: Please grow up already so I can stop hating you. And seriously, stop staring at me.
At 3 AM this morning, I was startled by dudes in the church parking lot next to my bedroom window, loading firewood in the back of a truck.Â And by loading, I mean they were chucking massive logs onto the metal surface of the truckâ€™s bed…I donâ€™t even know if they work at that church.Â Were they stealing?Â I donâ€™t know.Â When you live in Castlewood, you donâ€™t ask questions unless you want to get hit in the back of the head with a log.
To reserve tickets by phone call: (859) 259-2754 or online at http://www.beetnik.com/reservations/