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Lusty Lady

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Theater pre-recommendation: Saving Tania's Privates by Tania Katan in NYC at Frigid Festival

Sortof like I'm gonna try to do with books, I want to share with you theater and events I want to see, whether I wind up having the time/means to see them - sometimes they sell out or my time is limited. I did buy tickets to see Joan Rivers perform on April 5th, finally. I've been wanting to see her in a small setting (in this case, Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC) since I saw her documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work). But one show at a time...

I can't really "review" something I haven't seen, but I did love Tania Katan's memoir My One-Night Stand With Cancer (plus the cupcake on the cover!) and am hoping to sneak away from the writing to see this. All you need to know is at

It's part of the Frigid Festival:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 through Sunday, March 06, 2011

3 Theaters, 12 Days, 30 independent theater companies and over 150 performances...see you at FRIGID New York!

Okay, more info in case you didn't click through, from Tania's site:

The one-woman show that was a smash hit in Seattle, Phoenix and Edinburgh finally makes its way to New York! Phoenix based writer and comedic performer Tania Katan has adapted her outrageous and poignant best selling memoir My One Night Stand With Cancer, into the critically acclaimed one-woman show Saving Tania's Privates, which will make its NY debut at the Frigid Festival @ Under St. Marks Feb 23-March 6.

When Tania Katan was 21 years old she loved her breasts. They were round and perky, pert and fabulous – openly adored by many. Suddenly, in the midst of her carefree college days and during some really great sex, her partner stopped touching her breasts and said, "Do you feel that, Tania? It's a lump." Tania's perky breasts were given some gloomy news: stage-3 breast cancer. Hilarity ensued! Or more accurately, absurdity.

After a mastectomy and some good old-fashioned chemo, Tania left cancer far behind. 10 years later, at 31 years old, Tania was about to celebrate her secured status of being "cancer free" when she found herself in bed with another girlfriend who stopped touching her breast abruptly to ask a familiar question, "Do you feel that?"

By the age of 31 Katan had survived two mastectomies, a string of psychopathic girlfriends, her idiosyncratic but loving family AND running a 10K race in the desert while on chemo just to impress a girl. Obviously all that was left was to write a book and then adapt it into a play.

With wit, courage and honesty Saving Tania's Privates details Tania's race for a different kind of cure; a race that takes her through a medical labyrinth where phlebotomists miss veins, friends quietly retreat, and the prospect of being 'normal' seems to disappear every time she thinks she's got life firing on all cylinders. It explores whether bad relationships can give you cancer and whether good ones can take it away. It is, in short, a remarkable and utterly unforgettable story of survival.

From Phoenix New Times:

In one case, she conducts a quick poll about how many people would have made the same decision she did in a particular situation. We know it's going to turn out badly, but she's been so honest up until then, most of us raise our hands in embarrassed solidarity. At another moment, she asks, "Do you know anyone who's had cancer twice and lived?" The mind boggles, and the answer sticks in the throat. What is "twice"? What is "lived"? It's the closest most of us will get to being where she's been.

Let me stress that this show is undeniably entertaining and will probably not make you miserable, unless you happen to be in an immediate-catharsis-needing place -- and if you are, you might as well get it here. This is a blood diamond of great, moving acting. Katan's huge smile, gangly arms, and defiantly flat, scarred chest are the captivating façade of a soul that just wants to survive and share. In particular, her stories of crushing, falling in love, and wanting to flee it are as romantic and toe-curling -- and terrifically, hysterically funny -- as anything you'll ever see and hear.

Cupcakes Take the Cake interviewed Tania wrote about her in our infancy (2005!) and quoted this part of her book:

“I’m sorry. Hey, do you want a little treat to go with your mocha? I saw some fancy looking cupcakes up there.”

“Sure, thanks.” Mom hands me a five. I’m living large.

The cupcake is amazing: light golden brown and four inches in circumference, and when I lick the fluffy pink frosting, it licks me back.

See also: Tania Katan's essay "Pragmatic Osmosis" at beloved essay site Fresh Yarn

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