This absolutely hilarious performance by Amber Topaz had me aching with laughter. Her energy filled the room with liberation and warmth. She starts the show by singing a few jazzy snippets of “Let’s Talk About Sex,” and then makes the audience repeat a few words after her, to loosen us up. Some of those words are “dick,” “cock,” “tit” and “clit.” This sets the tone for the rest of the show. She then gives us an outrageously honest lesson on the female reproductive system. She even reenacts giving birth on stage, showing us the comical but ugly reality of birthing a child. After confirming that we know we were “all a product of sex,” she asks us whether we would “like to hear an erection story.” Following a collective “yes” from the audience, she says “correct” and regales us. This leads her into her next lesson: puberty. She erupts into song, singing, “the crimson tide, it keeps coming,” and explains that “there is nothing stranger than being a woman.” After recounting her first “innocent snog,” she tells us about her relationship with ecstasy. She notes that it “makes you ecstatic, surprisingly.” She tells us how she stopped using drugs and went back to “the great British lubricant” – alcohol. She sings, “I’m gonna swing a whole keg of beer,” to the tune of Sia’s “Chandelier,” all the while dancing and progressively acting drunker. By the end of this routine, she has her panties around her ankles and has to take them off because she wasn’t going to let herself trip on her “knickers.” She then teaches us the elusive panty‑hair bobble trick. Moving on to talk about body hair, she tells us another cackling story from her life. She recites a dirty poem from 1935 by Lucille Bogan called “Shave ‘Em Dry.” Next, she shares some “cliterature.” She tells us how the clitoris “keeps growing, blossoming ‘til a woman’s mid‑to‑late 30s.” Masturbation Is next on her list. She informs us that “an orgasm is three times more painkilling than morphine,” and should probably be used in schools and other institutions as a painkilling method. One of her former flat mates was a German dominatrix and her inspiration for her next song. She sings about masturbation from a German dominatrix’s point of view. In the spirit of the performance, she has to perform at least one sexy song. She seductively sings as she meanders through the audience. She even gets an audience member to play the bongos on her bum. She naturally interacts with the audience in a thoughtful and purposeful way. She emphasizes the importance of touch, as it increases oxytocin levels in the body. She makes everyone in the audience stand up and do the “ecstatic shake,” then reach into her “womb of truth” and pull out one of the great many questions it holds. She even hugs every person in the theatre during her last song about loving the self you are. Her last lesson to us was about abuse and healing. “A Rude Awakening. Sex, Shame, and Liberation” was everything I needed it to be and more. Ms. Topaz gave us a hysterical performance with a very deep and beautiful message. She taught us about sex, she tore shame apart, and she guided us to liberation. “The Rude Awakening. Sex, Shame & Liberation” Written and Performed by Amber Topaz Nov. 10 at 7:30pm Show image by Veronika Marx United Solo 2018 Theatre Row 410 West 42nd Street New York City
MEHR GUNAWARDENA is a writer from Sri Lanka who pursued her education and ambition in the United States. During her time at Clark University, she began experimenting with form and structure to make her writing as accessible as possible to all readers, while keeping true to her voice. She enjoys writing poetry and other fictional pieces with political and societal nuances, and is therefore drawn towards art with similar intentions.