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DALLAS SOLO FEST 2019

Melanie Moseley of&nbsp;<em>Sexology: the Musical!</em>

Solo Fest Q&A: Melanie Moseley

First in our interviews with the artists of the fifth Dallas Solo Fest, Portland's Melanie Moseley of Sexology: The Musical!



published Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Editor's Note: The 2019 Dallas Solo Fest runs June 6-16 at Theatre Too, the downstairs space of Theatre Three in Dallas' The Quadrangle. Our coverage of the event will include interviews with all eight artists, and we'll also review each show as well. To see more info about the performers and their shows, as well as info on tickets, go here. All of our DSF coverage appears in a special section on TheaterJones. You can click the Dallas Solo Fest 2019 section title at the top of this page to see more articles. A full schedule of the festival appears at the bottom of this interview.

First up, Melanie Moseley, whose Sexology: The Musical opens the festival at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 6.

 

Photo: Courtesy M. Moseley
Melanie Moseley of Sexology: the Musical!

 

 

Dallas — Melanie Moseley has traveled all the way from Portland, Oregon to share her solo performance Sexology: The Musical! at the upcoming Dallas Solo Fest. In this one-woman musical, Moseley sets her personal journey from monogamy to solo-polyamory to song, and, in doing so, hopes to spark conversation and community with her audiences. TheaterJones caught up with her over email to discuss her work and experiences on tour.

 

TheaterJones: How long have you been working on Sexology and what surprised you the most along the way?

Melanie Moseley: This has been in process for about three years. I had sections of it that I performed at various storytelling venues like Mortified, The Moth, Mystery Box, and Stand Up Smut. I got into the Come Inside Festival last October. It's a sex-positive fringe theatre festival in Portland that Dance Naked Productions produces. I realized I had to get my full hour together and that became Sexology: The Musical!

What surprised me along the way was the number of people that I needed to have on this this journey. A solo show is not really a solo show. There's a tribe of people behind the production to make it happen. In my particular situation, I brought in friends, lovers, artists, directors, musicians, technicians, and more to make this piece. I'll call out: Leah Carey, Sydoney Blackwell, Tony Sonera, Chad Brooks, Charity Benham, Cliff Rees, Eleanor O'Brien, and Curtis Settino.

 

Sexology is a one-woman musical. Has music always been an integral part of your theatre-making, or was it just the best device for telling this specific story?

Music has always been a big part of my work. I love connecting storytelling and humor with music. This show is my story. Music has always been a part of my life, so it just seems natural. I started playing piano at 5 and then guitar at 14—and I am still a very average musician, trust me. SUPER average. I play instruments so that I can write songs and sing. As a storyteller, music is one of the tools I use to communicate. I find that music is emotional and brings an audience in. It's another vehicle I can use to tell the story. Also, I just personally think it's funny to put on a one-woman musical, as if I could be Hamilton on my own or something.

 

Sexology's story deals with the intersection of female identity, sexual freedom, and taboo. You're now touring across the U.S. as those very topics have moved to the immediate forefront of American political debate. What is that experience like for you? Does it affect or inform your performance?

Wow. That is such a great question. My show has morphed over time and, of course, my experience in this country as a woman since before 45 got in office has been emotional, terrifying, and aggravating. I look around at my female-identified friends and we all are scared and angry. This really does start to look like The Handmaids Tale. So, how do we push back? One of the skills I have is the willingness to be vulnerable - you can know me fully and I'll own my mistakes and my awesomeness. I can also create theatre and music. I also love people. I love getting to know them and their stories. So, one way I can improve our combined situation is by using those skills and sharing them as widely as possible.

We are doing a documentary of this show as I travel from Portland to Portland! We're calling it Sexology: The Documentary! So, when you see me and my partners and friends on the road, we might interview you! That's one way we can get this message out widely.

On another, more serious note: I worry that, in this country, we live in a culture where we are supposed to act in a specific way. The rules that our culture subscribes to are based on heteronormativity, patriarchy, cis-normativity, and white culture. Most of us don't fit into that box, but we are told that we are somehow damaged or wrong by living the life that feels genuine, honest, and loving to us. And it's hard to stand up and say: "No, this is who I am and I am not damaged." I believe that the more of us that own our truths publicly, the better off we all will be. That's a big part of my show and that's why I want to tour it. I can stand up. Not everyone can due to their particular situation job-wise, family-wise, whatever.

 

The journey of this piece starts with you as a kid growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, receiving constant messaging that sex should be heterosexual and monogamous. By writing this piece, you've sort of come full circle, now creating the representation for diverse sexualities that a younger you craved. What media did you eventually find that illuminated your understanding of yourself? Do you have any recommendations of artists you love that are working to break similar ground?

My kids’ dad handed me a copy of The Ethical Slut and that was my first introduction to the fact that a polyamorous lifestyle was possible. Of course, growing up in the ’70s I knew about key parties (which is basically swinging without consent, in my mind) — and that totally weirded me out at the time. My personal journey involved the fact that I was a serial cheater and I felt guilty and shitty about it, but really felt compelled to connect with other people. When I discovered polyamory, I realized that I could have many connections with others and be honest about it and love expands. Everyone has their own journey. I don't know what to recommend. I can say I have a list of books and podcasts that I go to. Those worked for me. I don't know that I'm breaking any ground. I'm just doing what I need to do to live an authentic life.

 

You've mentioned you want your work to be a safe space for connection and conversation between you and your audience.  Have you had any memorable audience experiences or reactions after performing this piece?

So many! I frequently have people come up to me and share with me that I am telling their story too. They connect to my journey in a really personal way — and they share their stories with me. I love that! I've had couples talk to me about the fact that they have been wanting to open up their relationships, but they don't know how. I've given them some of the resources I use (books, podcasts, Meetup groups, etc...).

On a recent tour to a pretty conservative small town, I had a lovely triad come up to me to let me know that they were not aware that other people were living like they were. It broke my heart thinking about how isolated they must have felt. I was so honored to be a piece of their journey. In my show I talk about the fact that I live with my triad. That was the first time they had met someone in real life that actually lives in a similar relationship structure as they do. That was beautiful!

 

 

DALLAS SOLO FEST 2019 SCHEDULE

 

Thursday, June 6

7:00 pm... Sexology: The Musical! by Melanie Moseley

8:30 pm...  Girl Dad by Justin Lemieux

 

Friday, June 7

7:00 pm...  Cyrano A-Go-Go by Brad McEntire

8:30 pm...  Sexology: The Musical! by Melanie Moseley

10:00 pm... Based on Actual Events by Jaye Lee Vocque

Saturday, June 8

5:30 pm... Cyrano A-Go-Go by Brad McEntire

7:00 pm... Based on Actual Events by Jaye Lee Vocque

8:30 pm...  Critical, Darling! by Brigham Mosley

10:00 pm... Sexology: The Musical! by Melanie Moseley

 

Sunday, June 9

3:00 pm... Based on Actual Events by Jaye Lee Vocque

5:30 pm... Critical, Darling! by Brigham Mosley

7:00 pm... Cyrano A-Go-Go by Brad McEntire

 

Thursday, June 13 

7:00 pm... The Marvelous Mechanical Musical Maiden by Carmel Clavin

​8:30 pm... Who You Calling a Bitch?!? By Sacha Elie

 

 

Friday, June 14

7:00 pm... Girl Dad by Justin Lemieux

8:30 pm... Keeping Up with the Jorgensons by Jeremy Julian Greco

10:00 pm... The Marvelous Mechanical Musical Maiden by Carmel Clavin

Saturday, June 15

5:30 pm...  The Marvelous Mechanical Musical Maiden by Carmel Clavin

7:00 pm... Who You Calling a Bitch?!? By Sacha Elie

8:30 pm... Critical, Darling! by Brigham Mosley

10:00 pm... Keeping Up with the Jorgensons by Jeremy Julian Greco

 

Sunday, June 16

3:00 pm... Keeping Up with the Jorgensons by Jeremy Julian Greco

5:30 pm... Who You Calling a Bitch?!? By Sacha Elie

7:00 pm...  ​ Girl Dad by Justin Lemieux Thanks For Reading





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Solo Fest Q&A: Melanie Moseley
First in our interviews with the artists of the fifth Dallas Solo Fest, Portland's Melanie Moseley of Sexology: The Musical!
by Haley Nelson

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