Backstage

True Confessions of a Go-Go Girl
reviewed by David Sheward
As one climbs the stairs at 85 East 4th Street to reach the tiny Red Room Theatre on the third floor, it’s necessary to pass by the KGB bar on the second floor. The smell of beer and cigarettes and the sounds of loud people having fun floods your senses. This trip through bar-land is an appropriate introduction to the attraction at the top of the stairs, “True Confessions of a Go-Go Girl,” Jill Morley’s performance piece on women (including herself) who shake their booties in return for folded bills.

Clad in a series of the briefest costumes this side of “Oh! Calcutta!” Morley examines the motivations behind this profession. What she reveals is not a parade of desperate, abused victims, but a gallery of dancers who have as many reasons for go-go-ing as they have tricks for gaining tips. She uses her own story as the main throughline, but also profiles such fascinating characters as an Hispanic lesbian, a tough broad not above pudding wrestling and foxy boxing, and a 45-year old wife and mother squeezing in bar dancing between community theatre and the PTA.

None of them see their job as degrading, but rather as empowering. They get to manipulate men and collect money from them with a minimum of physical contact. It’s an incisive peek at sex roles and the seamier side of the entertainment world. In her performance and writing, Morley strips herself, her fellow dancers, and their patrons barer than any go-go bar.
Jason Jaworski, Melanie Vesey, and Maria T. Eldridge offer support in a variety of roles. Maryann Towne’s varied direction keeps this 75- minute show moving at a fast clip. Ute Schwemmer designed the revealing and humorous outfits. Donalee Katz’s lighting design created the right atmosphere of the sleazy demi-world of go-go.