West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 8 | July 25 - 31, 2007

Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Matt Morillo, director of “Angry Young Women In Low-Rise Jeans With High-Class Issues”

An ear for girl talk, and an eye for angry young women

By Rachel Fershleiser

From “The Vagina Monolgues” to “Sex and The City,” American mainstream culture seems to have figured out that women not only think about genitalia and blowjobs, we talk about them too. Humorist Matt Morillo, 31, took what he sees as the next logical step, writing a series of theatrical vignettes where sexy, neurotic, urban women could curse, complain, dissect the gender gap, and make an audience laugh. “Angry Young Women In Low-Rise Jeans With High-Class Issues” originated three years ago, mostly as a venting outlet between friends, and ended up selling out at the East Village’s Duo Theater and Theater for the New City. Now it’s enjoying an open-ended commercial run at MacDougal Street’s Players Theatre. Made up of monologues and sketches, the evening (taglined “Even Though It’s a Play, It Doesn’t Suck!”) addresses thongs, bikini waxes, daddy issues, posing nude, and birth control pill side effects. Which begs the question: how did a man write it? Morillo talked to The Villager and tried to explain:

Rachel Fershleiser: How did this idea come about?

Matt Morillo: I happen to have a lot of platonic female friends, and we tell each other everything. Girls talk to me differently than to their boyfriends. They’re entirely open and honest.

Do you date women?

I do, yes, although I’m not particularly good at it.

When did it really become a play?

Well three years ago I lost my day job at a video store. Business had been slow, so I’d sat around telling stories with the girls I worked with. Once I had extra time on my hands, I wrote them out into sketches. From there it just kept moving and moving.

How collaborative has the process been?

Oh, it’s hugely collaborative. Several of these actors I’ve been working with forever, and we’ve been with this show two or three years. I like my actors to be creative, and I’m always excited when an improvised line works better than what I wrote.

Has an actress ever told you you’ve got it wrong?

There was a line I cut from the piece about losing your virginity because the actress told me “A girl would never put it that way.” I have a good ear for girl talk, but I’m still a heterosexual male, and these talented actresses are a big help. Still, though men and women are tremendously different, at the end of the day there’s deep similarity. And when it comes to frank discussion of sex, women talk much dirtier than men.

Do you think most men know that?

I think it’s becoming more accepted, and that’s a really good thing. Women aren’t looked down on as much for talking about sex or being sexually active.

Have you gotten any negative feedback?

One woman was deeply offended by the monologue about thongs and waxes, that we would say women only do it to impress men. But men do that too. When I go out in nice pants and gel my hair, it’s because I’m hoping to meet someone. That’s what people do. I think she recognized herself and didn’t like what she saw — people are only offended by the truth. Anyway, I’m cool with offending people. I just want to entertain people and make them laugh. I’m trying to poke fun at what we all know to be true.

Do you really think plays suck?

Most of the time. I’ve seen some good ones, but I think too many playwrights are so focused on their social or political message that the story gets lost and what’s left is dull and pretentious. I loved the play “Jewtopia” because it was fun. I related to it and I had a blast. It was hysterical and poked fun at truths — that’s how your message comes across.

Does this play really express the female point of view?

I think it’s right down the middle. No one’s wrong in these scenes, it’s just a guy being a guy and a woman being a woman. I just do one thing most men don’t do — I listen. And I thank God every day for making me a man. I don’t wanna go through the shit you guys go through.

“Angry Young Women In Low-Rise Jeans With High-Class Issues,” The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, Angryyoungwomen.net.


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