comedy · bill ratner · Ages 8+ · United States

family friendly world premiere

Since ancient times children have played with dolls—from whittled twigs to corn husks to sophisticated high-fashion dolls and killer action figures. Through the eyes of two feckless brothers we’ll examine the world’s longest plastic doll legs, introduce you to actual Viennese-trained Freudian psychoanalyst-turned-Madison-Avenue-marketing-consultant Ernst Dichter (google him!) and dissect the messianic corporate mandate to populate the world with toy soldiers and clotheshorses. Follow culture-jamming media terrorists into the toy store for the true tale of the sneakiest voice transformation in the history of toydom. Attend auditions for TV cartoon G.I. Joe—All-American Hero. Find out how Barbie and G.I. Joe obliterated the toy-sales charts and overpowered the wallets of children everywhere. Contemplate the magic, the trickery, the artistry, and the power of the doll. Starring TWO-TIME BEST OF HOLLYWOOD FRINGE EXTENSION WINNER, NINE-TIME MOTH STORY SLAM WINNER Bill Ratner, and veteran Deadwood, CSI, & True Blood actor, Clay Wilcox. Directed by Sydney Walsh. Set by Aleka Corwin
• 21ST CENTURY MARILYN Sandy Mansson: “Go and see The True Life Adventures of Barbie and G.I.Joe and you will find out what happens when you let boys play with dolls…It is masterfully performed by VO artist Bill Ratner and actor Clay Wilcox…”
GIRLSHEALTHANDJUSTICE.ORG Leslie Acoca: “I loved this show! As a former Yale drama person-that says a lot. I was shocked to learn about the history of Barbie-German and GI Joe and thought it was a hip way to talk about the recent history of America and the primal and somewhat twisted imagery of girls and boys as expressed through toys…All around a fabulous experience…”
• Todd Segal – Certified Reviewer: “Sound typical? No and that’s also why it’s so good. Bill Ratner’s script could be an essay in a weekly publication but there is so much life to it that it easily makes the jump onto the stage with the chops, talent and tenderness of Clay Wilcox and Bill himself. Who knew that learning about the history of these two dolls/action figures could also be engaging, funny and brilliant.”
• Anna Marie Piersimoni, certified reviewer – CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE FACULTY “I haven’t had this much fun with Barbie since the day I hot-glued steel wool to her armpits and pelvis, then switched her head with Ken’s. But these guys are not just playin’ around. In an engaging performance as sibling rivals in a family toy merchandising enterprise, Ratner and Wilcox embody the plasticity of these iconic figures in all their male vs. female glory….It lifts the kimono of expectations for both gender identification AND material success passed from parents to offspring across generations. But it also lifts the spirits with a vibrant wink-wink-nod-nod “paen to the pain” of conformity that we have all experienced regardless of our uptake…And do take the time to step up to the stage afterwards for a close-up look at Aleka Corwin’s artful arrangement of the darling little beauty-cum-action figures, fully accessorized. I dare you to find any Brillo!”

Production Team

bill ratner *

writer, actor

aleka corwin *

set designer & costumer

* Fringe Veteran