Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music. The show’s focus, suggested by the name, is about Dolly Parton, and about Dolly the cloned sheep.
The theatre duo revolve their performance around their love for Dolly Parton, which resulted in them taking a trip together to Parton’s amusement park ‘DollyWorld’. They both ridicule and admire Parton and the ridiculousness of the ‘DollyWorld’ concept, using pictures on a screen and commenting on all of the Dolly merchandise including mugs, oven gloves and dolls. This was a very funny moment because of how over-the-top the amusement park is and because the pair’s obsession with Parton was so intense that they travelled so far to Nashville just to go together. Much of this obsession over Dolly is at the core of the humour of this performance.
The duo used an affective style of storytelling, which involved using interviews with Dolly Parton being questioned on her person life and the duo together speaking Dolly’s answers. Many of the personal questions revolved around Dolly’s appearance. At one point the interviewer asks about how she felt about the media perceiving her look as ‘fake’; Sh!t Theatre used Dolly’s response saying how it doesn’t bother her what people say because, in her own words, ‘I am secure with myself.’ This moment was particularly powerful and touching because it reinforced the piece’s message about being content with oneself – much of this is the reason for Sh!t Theatre’s appreciation for Dolly.
Then they interjected stories about Dolly Parton with stories about Dolly the cloned sheep. As well as gags, they used humorous costumes such as a sheep style wig in a Dolly Parton outfit. Towards the end of the show, they both had giant nipple bags that they’d wear – an emphasis on Dolly’s fake breasts, which she is open about. The use of costumes, pictures and music created much of the comedy. But it was also a personal show. The duo shared how their relationship became so stressful that the only thing they agreed on was their love for Dolly Parton, and in order to carry on working together they needed to make show about her.
The show overall was very entertaining and had a feel-good sense to it underneath the obvious themes there were messages of self-acceptance. The nudity – they cut holes in the tips of their shirts so their nipples were showing – and outrageous elements led me to really think about the limitations of performance and the normalisation of nudity.
DollyWould is a performance that stretches the mind, and makes one ponder the limitations of the body and the stage. It explores celebrity culture, and how Dolly resisted this by not caring about what the media thought about her and clarifying how she is, in fact, ‘secure’ with herself. Sh!t Theatre left us with the confession that their love Dolly Parton is so much that they both agreed that they’d have a threesome with Dolly, not ‘if’ but ‘when’ she asks.