Feb 2004: Other Arts: Theatre

not a nice girl: Long Hard Wonderful
Journey From Sex To Satisfaction
by Paul Pierog

In not a nice girl, Cheryl King is
compelling through the power of
personal sharing by a skilled actress and engaging person.

Cheryl King seems to tell the truth, a stunning device for a theater production, a one-person play at Where
Eagles Dare, a black box theater. She seems to be, and probably is, an
intelligent, warm, gracious woman in her late forties, and she seems to be masturbating on a bed. At the end of her one-act play, she's shimmering and shaking with the spirit of the
goddess of love, Aphrodite.
Between these points, she shares freely of the traumas and pains of her sexuality, the abuses, the mistakes. She's so very human it's easy, even for a male, to identify with her. Her husband provides a framework. He prefers golf to sex. In exchange for Cheryl accepting his obsession, he will accept her having sex elsewhere. This one-act play shows her arriving at an initial step with a student for Cheryl in her job as an acting coach. The play is presented as if it were a true story, and the quality of person sharing is intimate and intelligent, bringing us into the sexual being of a complex and seemingly happy woman. This work deftly explores growth from girlhood sexual tragedy to enlightened creative adulthood in ways that are intimate, honest and profound.
A frequent reviewer for the magazine, Paul Pierog is a veteran director trained at the Yale Drama School.

"not a nice girl" is a daring one-woman show

Friday, July 25, 2003
By Phyllis Walbye
The solo show "not a nice girl," written and performed by Cheryl King, has been a work-in-progress for seven years. The current incarnation, directed by Rod Menzies, can be see at Bas Bleu Theatre in Ft. Collins at 7:30 pm tonight and Saturday.
To boil the show down to its basics, let's just say King's show is about sex - confusing, pleasurable, damaging, confounding and definitely essential to Carol, the woman King portrays. Carol is pretty much an alter-ego for King herself, and Carol is a very sexual being.
She discovered her sexuality as a curious, open-minded child, and was quickly cautioned about it by religious parents. Confused by what to make of the connection between God and her body, Carol was soon victimized sexually by dreadful men and boys.

The most surprising quality of King's writing and performance is her refusal to picture herself as a victim.
In fact, her view of her sexuality, tarnished by others' standards, remains so untarnished in her own view that she celebrates it and considers herself a goddess in the spirit of Aphrodite.
I guess we just have to say it: You go, girl!

Along the way to the celebration, King reveals the rough edges of the life of Carol/Cheryl with quite astonishing honesty.  Carol tells us her teenage idol and role model was Fanny Hill. Later she discovered Anais Nin. Unfortunately, what her husband, whom she considers her best friend, has discovered is golf and TV reruns of "Law and Order."
Despite moving the audience through some very dark places with her, King has a sensibility that is as calm and cool as it is erotic.
And there is something ladylike about her confessions.

I guess  it stems from the goddess assimilation.  But Carol/Cheryl never quite loses the spirit of a rebel who can and will look out for herself. Besides the painful revelations, there are very funny elements in the show.  And there are moments of shining writing, Carol speaks of pillows in hotel rooms that are "saturated with other people's dreams." 
Director Menzies adds bits of music and the punctuation of lighting at key moments.  Most of all, his direction seems like an arm around the shoulders of the woman on stage, whose advice to the audience is "You can't be perfect, but you can be truthful."
Cheryl King's bold performance of "not a nice girl" is not for everyone, but those who are ready to take the personal journey with her will find themselves considering what she had to say long after she said it.