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Personality Crisis 

Thursday, Apr 24 2008
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Thirty-year-old writer and musician Trixie (Megan Lee Ethridge) knows herself: She’s boring. Her boyfriend, Gary (Michael Hampton), persuades her (for the sake of her career and that of their sneering, droning punk band) to create the persona of B.J. McCool, a transsexual teenage hustler who’s been swapping blowjobs for cash since his daddy done made him in the eighth grade. B.J.’s memoir is embraced by everyone from Dr. Phil to Madonna; less enthralled by her tales of incest and masturbating into soup pots is Trixie’s egotistic thesis adviser, Professor Big Thunder (Nick Denning), now mining his poor childhood on the reservation for his fourth autobiography, though his dim-bulb girlfriend, Kelly (Kerri Reed), is a fan. Playwright-director Rick Mitchell’s ripped-from-the-headlines send-up of literary pretensions is about truth but rings false with contrived dialogue and plot twists. It’s fun watching Gary bait Big Thunder into spouting poetic twaddle about doing peyote on the prairie, but after Trixie persuades Kelly to play B.J. at an awards show, the story devolves into soap-opera betrayals that only skim past Mitchell’s questions about identity. Left entirely unexplored is the larger theme of why our lurid therapy culture mistakes shock honesty for art and loves little more than other people’s misery. There are several loud numbers by B.J., Gary and Trixie’s band, the Mimetic Pygmies, who, as their profile rises, pen choruses like “Gender is a notion that we both mock/I’m just a little girl with a big fat cock.” Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Thu., April 10, 8 p.m. Starts: April 4. Continues through April 27, 2008

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Reach the writer at anicholson@laweekly.com

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