Quivering skin, glitter and fishnets. Strap-ons and wet lips, thighs, butterflies, shapely muscles. Given how much fiery onstage sexual daring has come to define the long-running Fly Honey Show, it might come as a surprise that its precepts are rooted in shyness and insecurity.
“Personally, I had a growing interest in exploring alternative dance practices like burlesque and spectacle-based styles in contrast and informed by my contemporary dance training,” says show runner Erin Kilmurray. “Performing my body that way is extremely vulnerable, so I invited all of the featured artists on our program and some friends to perform a large ensemble striptease together as a way to experience support and be an unstoppable force! That is how the ensemble experience of our show was born. It continues to be a huge portion of our material.”
A flagship of The Inconvenience, of which Kilmurray is a founding member, the cabaret-style ode to sex and gender returns for its eighth installment at the Den Theatre this weekend. Previously located in the basement stage in Ukrainian Village’s Chopin Theatre, the move was precipitated by the enduring popularity of the show and a need to expand from a few weekends to a full month of performances. It’s a move that “very simply lets more artists tell more stories to more people,” expounds Kilmurray. “The space we are trying to make for feminism, empowerment, body positivity and sex positivity is still needed, because outside of the theatre walls, that’s still not our experience—especially during this challenging year. So what will we do about it? We’re going to shake our radical butts all over it.” (Michael Workman)
Den Theatre, 1331 North Milwaukee, $23-$80, (773)697-3830, theflyhoneyshow.com. Through September 2.