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 Villages Duo Theater and Theater for the New City. Now its enjoying an open-ended commercial run at MacDougal Streets Players Theatre. Made up of monologues and sketches, the evening (taglined Even Though Its a Play, It Doesnt 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. Theyre entirely open and honest.
Do you date women?
I do, yes, although Im 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 Id 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, its hugely collaborative. Several of these actors Ive been working with forever, and weve been with this show two or three years. I like my actors to be creative, and Im always excited when an improvised line works better than what I wrote.
Has an actress ever told you youve 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 Im 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 theres 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 its becoming more accepted, and thats a really good thing. Women arent 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, its because Im hoping to meet someone. Thats what people do. I think she recognized herself and didnt like what she saw people are only offended by the truth. Anyway, Im cool with offending people. I just want to entertain people and make them laugh. Im trying to poke fun at what we all know to be true.
Do you really think plays suck?
Most of the time. Ive 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 whats 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 thats how your message comes across.
Does this play really express the female point of view?
I think its right down the middle. No ones wrong in these scenes, its just a guy being a guy and a woman being a woman. I just do one thing most men dont do I listen. And I thank God every day for making me a man. I dont 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.