No doubt men and women have their differences. Maybe men like hockey, and women love to shop. No one enjoys being clumped into a stereotype, and yet gender is the brunt end of many a joke. In a world of political correctness, it becomes more and more difficult to examine these issues with any objectivity.
If you don't enjoy stereotypes, why not mock them? Perhaps the best way to examine such a situation is through humour, or so believes Chris Craddock, co-creator and director of the Guys in Disguise production Men are Stoopid, Women are Craa-azy.
"We sometimes adopt a somewhat political tone when talking about the gender war, especially as it relates to other countries where feminism lacks the foothold it has here... but even at our most political, we never lose our sense of humour," says Craddock. "I think comedy is a way to examine these issues."
The play centers around a couple who are transsexuals; both are irked at the other's gender traits. The characters, Suzanna (Mark Meer) and Cody (Andrea House) were originally created on the set of Edmonton's improv scene, starring in the long-running mock soap opera Dynasty. It was on the soap where the characters of Suzanna and Cody fell in love and got married.
"They're just two really excellent and hilarious characters, so we wrote a show for them," says Craddock.
The characters battle over gender differences to the melodies of a live musician and with the assistance of puppets and action figures. Such scenes are projected onto a 12 by 15 foot screen, which Craddock calls "a live performing animation."
"[The play is a] very loose parody of [the book] Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," Craddock explains. "[It] assumes all men are like this and all women are like that... and it really brings about a divisive idea that we're alien and we have to learn secret codes to communicate with each other, and I don't think that holds true universally at all."
Men are Stoopid, Women are Craa-azy first premiered at the 1999 Edmonton Fringe Festival and since then has appeared at Edmonton's Roxy theatre and last January's Comedy Art Festival. The gender comedy is coming to Calgary as a part of One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo, Jan. 12-15.
But, would Craddock rather be "stoopid" or "craa-azy?"
"I think it's probably easier to be stupid, though it's probably more honest to be crazy."