I Wanna Know

PW exposes the tricks, scams and truth about the powers that be.

By Heather Duffy
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 7, 2004

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Q: I can't figure out how this Puppetry of the Penis show isn't found to be indecent. If it were a woman doing similar things, I'm sure it would be popular with men, but probably closed down by the powers that be. What gives?

A: Puppetry of the Penis: The Ancient Art of Genital Origami is not considered indecent for the same reason that porn and stripping aren't--it's entertainment, baby. But more than that, Puppetry is comedy. (Most strip shows, on the other hand, aren't very funny--at least not intentionally.) Ken Wesler, co-promoter of the Philly show that opened at the Wilma Theater July 6, has a suggestion for anyone questioning its merits. "Look up decency in the dictionary. It's what you think it is, what you bring to the table," he says. As for the powers that be, Wesler says it's "far more likely a male show would get shut down than a female show." So what about adding women to the performances? "We've talked about it," Wesler says, adding he doesn't speak for the producers. "We don't see how a female could compare." There is, though, one woman in the show. Comedian Mary Frances Connelly opens, but she doesn't play with the boys. This is Philly's second run of Puppetry. But those who saw the show last year will have a different experience, as there are two new guys performing. "Both are American," says Wesler. "The Penis goes red, white and blue." Not literally, of course (that would be painful). Wesler says the crowd is predominately female, with the occasional tagalong husband or boyfriend, and that there's a "huge audience that thinks it's funny. If you can be silly, you'll have a good time." For more adventurous men, Puppetry's website, www.puppetryofthepenis.com, posts information on auditioning for a puppeteer slot. Current puppeteer Jef Benjamin was a light designer by trade and worked on the show in Seattle. After seeing the performance, he auditioned, and turns out he was the perfect package.

Puppetry of the Penis, through Aug. 1. $33-$44. Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. 215.546.7824. www.wilmatheater.org" target="new">www.wilmatheater.org

What do you wanna know? Send queries and complaints to Heather M. Duffy at hduffy@philadelphiaweekly.comhduffy@philadelphiaweekly.com">hduffy@philadelphiaweekly.com>

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