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Shred the Shrews: Caitlin Bitzegaio Takes the On-Screen Portrayal of Women to Task

Caitlin Bitzegaio created original characters to make her case to space aliens that the media portrayal of women is not accurate

"Shrew-Ed is about how pop culture turns female characters into shrews, basically irrational and negative harpies who just exist to cause problems. Women are Shrew-Ed, if you will!"

Did you ever notice that on television a woman with an opinion is most often the obnoxious one, the meddler, or the trouble maker? Caitlin Bitzegaio took on the challenge of dismantling those stereotypes in “Shrew-Ed: A One Shrew Show”, her latest at Upright Citizen Brigade. She created original characters to make her case to space aliens that, yes, the media portrayal of women is not accurate. It makes me think that if there is life on other planets, I hope they don’t get the Fox News frequency.

Here, I got to ask Caitlin a bit more about her show, what she hopes you get from watching, and her future plans for it.

What inspired you to write “Shrew-Ed”, besides the fact that the world is on fire?
“Shrew-Ed is about how pop culture turns female characters into shrews, basically irrational and negative harpies who just exist to cause problems. Women are Shrew-Ed, if you will! At the time I thought of the show, I was writing a lot of characters, but I was finding they tended to be children or old women or, like, a mythological creature — never like an adult woman who is actually close to my real demographic in any way, so I started to interrogate why that kept being my default. And I noticed, well, women look pretty bad in movies and TV so maybe I was shying away from actually portraying a real life woman such as myself. That led me to look at movies and the TV I consume (and sometimes love!) and the way women are represented. Each character in the show examines some aspect of that, whether it’s saying what Stacy from “Wayne’s World” should have said to Wayne when he mistreated Her, or hearing the perspective of the real girl that inspired Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8ter Boi.” The world burning is a surprisingly small part of Shrew-Ed. It’s an attempt to hose down this fire planet”.

We met working on sketch comedy characters at UCB. Which of these characters are ones that we might have seen before? Which ones are new?

“All of the characters in the show are brand new and written for this specific show. I was previously on the UCB house team “Characters Welcome”, where we developed and performed a new character each month, but none of these characters originated in those shows, though the process was tremendously helpful in developing this longer form show”.

What do you hope the audience walks away with?

“Mainly, I hope they’re laughing! And then, of course, that each one would write me a check for a million dollars! The show is a feminist critique of pop culture, but it’s also super fun and I hope they’ll walk away feeling that we can challenge even the characters and shows we love. Hey, pop culture itself is a problematic fave. What can ya do?”

What are your future plans for the show?

“The show is just beginning its run at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hell’s Kitchen, so it will be performed there twice a month, hopefully for a good while. After that I would love to take it to Los Angeles and other cities as well”.

You can see Shrew-Ed: A One Shrew Show at UCB Hell’s Kitchen on Wednesday, July 31, 20197:30pm; and also Monday, August 26 at 9PM.

Tickets at www.hellskitchen.ucbtheatre.com

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