I’m a little sad I didn’t see this show earlier, or else I might have included it in my picks for closing weekend!
Victory for the Recycled Virgin is Houston Robertson’s autobiographical show about new beginnings and how it is never too late to achieve self-worth. When she was still called Barbara she married in her last year of college, as a virgin bride (as was the standard expectation at the time). Marrying so young tends to spell out problems later on, especially when you have no idea what you and your partner’s sexual chemistry will be like, and so it comes as no surprise that divorce eventually comes into the picture (though for a somewhat unexpected reason) and Robertson finds herself in her early 40s, single, depressed, and with no idea how the dating scene works. Through a haphazard series of career changes, personal ads, and men, Robertson finds her own groove, proving that you are only as young as you feel.
The storyline, after the divorce, tends to become, well, a little haphazard – as Robertson metaphorically stumbles (not literally – she seems a fairly spritely 79 years old (!)) her way into her own. It’s super rewarding to watch her make these discoveries though, such as the decision to switch careers and become a clown. We don’t see much of the actual clowning (although she mentions that she did it for 5 or 6 years), but we do see how much she needed to become a conduit for joy for others and herself, and given the sort of issues Robertson has already dealt with by this point it’s reassuring to see that happiness can be found even in the most unconventional of ways.
Victory for the Recycled Virgin is not just a first-hand account of how badly women had it in traditional marriage customs and of self re-discovery, it’s also an encouraging sort of self-help show. We see Robertson go from ideal youngster to starry-eyed bride to hell and back, and if this lady can tour her one-woman show at 79 years old in an environment like Fringe, then you can probably achieve your own goals more easily than you expected. She claims that on her 100th birthday she expects to have sex, live in a treehouse, and be a stand-up comedian (ideally all at the same time), and I genuinely hope that she does. She’s just that kind of performer – very easy to like.
Victory for the Recycled Virgin
Created and Performed by Houston Robertson
At La Nouvelle Scène