Nan and the Lower Body

L.A. Theatre Works. Jan. 2024. 1:40 hrs. ISBN 9781682661819. $4.99. DRAMA
When Nan, a newly married cytologist, lands a coveted research position with the eccentric Dr. Papanicolaou of future Pap smear fame, she quickly discovers that separating one’s personal life and professional work is easier said than done. Written by playwright Dickey (Row After Row) and produced by L.A. Theatre Works as part of their “Relativity” series of science-themed plays, the play gleefully exploits its midcentury setting, combining gags reminiscent of a 1950s sex comedy with the intimate awkwardness of a more casual Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Occasional shouts of “vagina!” from various characters humorously highlight both how much has been done and how much remains to be done to destigmatize discussions about women’s lower bodies. Unfortunately, a swerve toward the end of the play cuts off this delightfully rich meditation in favor of keeping pace with Dickey’s touching real-life inspiration: the career of her own cytologist grandmother.
VERDICT Engagingly performed by a full cast, this energetically written play speaks to the comedy and drama underlying women’s most intimate organs and the relationships they inevitably affect. A strong choice for audio drama fans, with appeal for those interested in women-centered stories.
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