Review: "The GynoKid" Puts Her Upbringing on the Examination Table
Written and performed by Claire Ayoub
Presented by Try Anyway Productions at The Kraine Theater
85 E 4th St, Manhattan, NYC
February 19-March 5, 2023FRIGID Fringe festival. In The GynoKid, Ayoub reflects on growing up Catholic in small-town Connecticut in a household with two experts on reproductive health, using the same blend of humor and honesty that she describes having made her parents popular with decades' worth of patients.
Ayoub absorbingly leads us through her development from precocious child to prudish adolescent (prudishness functioning as her not-as-successful-as-hoped method of rebellion) who puts off going to the gynecologist herself for as many years as possible. Being a GynoKid comes to seem more troublesome to her as both she and her peers become more aware of what her parents' jobs involve, but it also involves moments that stoke her pride in what her family does for the community. Her struggles with being a GynoKid are also intertwined with another struggle that lasts into her adulthood and which finds succinct symbolization in a piece of baggage that is the show's only prop. Ayoub observes that comedy helped her through dark times, and she demonstrates her mastery of the form with a captivating stage presence.
Striking a more sustained serious note near the show's end, she talks about how she has seen the dire effects of the politicization of reproductive healthcare and education in her parents' work; and she Issues a challenge to the audience to educate themselves and their children and to continue to fight for control over their own bodies. This is advice that we would all do well to heed, but it will be much, much more fun to get it straight from the source: the GynoKid herself.
-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards