“Psychos aren’t dated. They’re created.”
So says the tagline of Beaufield Berry’s new play Psycho Ex Girlfriend that premieres this weekend at Shelterbelt Theatre and runs through May 12th. The play’s journey to Shelterbelt started over 2 years ago when it was featured with other works at the Howard Drew Theatre as part of a New Timey Radio Hour podcast. The show was then featured as part of Shelterbelt’s playreading series last year. After a trip to South America lifted a bout with writer’s block, Berry put the finishing touches on the final version that got chosen for this year’s season.
At first glance, the initial thought about this show is that of a comedic feminist piece dealing with underlying gender issues in relationships. Berry’s focus was something wholly different.
“It’s definitely not a male-bashing show,” Berry said in an interview. “If anything I think that people will probably side with more guys when they see it! Then intention wasn’t gender-based either way. Guys are going to feel a little bit uncomfortable but really I think the play is saying that happiness comes from within your self.”
To bring perspective, Berry summed up the show by quoting everyone’s favorite drag queen philosopher Rupaul, “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?”
Regardless of the audience’s gender, Berry emphasizes that above all else, personal acceptance is the key. “There’s a big underlying tone of what it means to truly be one’s self instead of molding yourself to fit into whatever someone else’s ideal is. I think that’s a strong message for everyone but especially for women.”
Another hope for the show is to attract new audience members to theatre with it’s setting and subject matter.
“I think this play is a good stepping for people who don’t traditionally go to shows because it is a universal topic,” said Berry. “It’s relationships with parents and relationships with members of the opposite sex or same sex. As a writer I like to write to the masses. I like to write to a wide audience because you never know who’s going to see your show. You never know who you can touch or reach out to. Most of all, it’s not an inside joke. It’s written for people who have had heartbreaks and who have wanted to express those emotions but have never been able to.”
Psycho Ex Girlfriend will run Thurs-Sat through May 12th. Tickets can be purchased at www.shelterbelt.org
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