Dubac's clever writing doesn't quite match his ability to insult
women and make broad generalizations in his one-man show.
you were holding your breath
for a live theater version of “The Man Show,” you may
now exhale. No, not like that, Jesus, don’t sigh like a girl…
Robert Dubac’s “The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?”
is a 90-minute one-man show about what’s really going on inside
the male psyche, and it’s playing at the Jeanné Wagner
Theatre, where you have to wear pants. Comedy Central’s “The
Man Show” is half an hour and you can watch it in your boxers.
“The Male Intellect” stages the male brain. Our only
character, Bobby (played by the author), acts as a tour guide, explaining
that stage right represents the right side of the brain, the rational
side, where the male thoughts occur. This half of the stage is haphazardly
filled with beer and an ugly couch—and a filing cabinet filled
with more beer.
Rational readers no doubt will have anticipated that stage left
must therefore represent the emotional, female side of the brain,
as depicted by some billowy curtains upon which a hot-pink light
is projected. This blinding pinkness pulsates to the rhythm of a
disembodied voice, sounding as if it were the voice-over emanating
from some intergalactic Oxygen Network documentary, whenever Bobby’s
“feminine side” decides to tell him something.
Bobby addresses the audience from the depths of his distress and
confusion: The woman of his dreams left after he told her he needed
space. She said she would call after two weeks. As he sits by the
phone waiting, he reflects on this baffling state of affairs.
Through his depiction of “The Chauvinists,” a parade
of stereotypes such as The Colonel and Fast Eddie, Bobby insists
that these men taught him from childhood how to be an asshole. He
then embarks on a heroic journey toward sensitivity, guided by the
blinding pink voice-over.
In the rich tradition of The Rules and Men Are From Mars, Women
Are From Venus, Dubac builds upon what he insists are “genetically
encoded” differences between males and females to argue that
working for true equality between the sexes is hopeless because
penises make men too stupid to change.
According to this school of self-help literature, it’s not
that men are oppressing women, it’s just that even if they
were listening to women, they couldn’t grasp what it is that
After all, if men can’t match their belt and shoes, how can
we expect them to understand the fantastically complex workings
of female desire?
It’s a simple and well-worn formula: Flatter the women in
the audience enough to begin with and they may laugh at sexist jokes
later on. Not laughing proves you’re a fat, ugly, lesbian,
The warm, tingly good news of “The Male Intellect” is
that a little manipulation can get him to belch less, stop calling
you a bitch and remember your brother’s name. Not to mention
put up with your irrationality and inability to manipulate numbers
or quit vehemently resenting your cat. Ah, romance…
What is preached here is that women ultimately need security from
their relationships. What actually emerges is a portrait of male
insecurity, transferred into a conviction that all women are constantly
looking out for the “bigger, better deal,” hoping to
The best lines in the script, such as “I’m glad I’m
not a woman, ’cause then I’d be a slut,” scratch
the surface of the real issues at hand, then quickly dissolve into
platitudes as the show marches on in its insistence that men and
women are entirely different creatures.
“The Male Intellect” is, like most products of the “men’s
movement,” extremely self-indulgent. The one-man show formula
is somewhat of a handicap—it all-too-easily lends itself to
artistically lazy ego trips on the part of the author.
The worst thing about this show by far is that Dubac undoubtedly
believes he’s doing women a valuable service. A close second
is that, as the preview of his new material after the show proved,
he is a talented writer.
I’d be lying if I gave you the impression I didn’t laugh
at “The Male Intellect” at all. Its descriptions of
the lies men tell in relationships are just plain funny. Most of
its material applies to both sexes and would be more humorous if
presented that way.
But assertions such as that there isn’t a man alive who wouldn’t
bleed once a month if it kept him from going bald fail to elicit
my sympathy. This “men have their problems too” response
to gender relations only prompts me to make bitchy statements like,
“Oooh, I feel soooo sad to think of all those men who have
to ask their secretaries to clear their afternoon so they can get
Rogaine prescribed under health plans that won’t cover birth
I know it seems like I really have it out for this show, and yes,
I am a fat, ugly, lesbian prude, but actually I would recommend
that women who for some reason are with total assholes take them
to “The Male Intellect.”
It may be a good starting point for conversations about gender.
It’s not automatically going to get you to feminism, but it
does create a safe, nonthreatening environment in which he won’t
get defensive and shut down on you. Maybe he’ll be more willing
to go to a play which will actually challenge gender stereotypes
and confront gender inequities next time. Or you could just dump
“The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?” plays through
Nov. 9 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. University of
Utah students and staff can get a two-for-one discount by bringing
their IDs to the box office for every performance through Wednesday,
except Saturday. Call 355-ARTS or visit www.ArtTix.org
to buy tickets or for more information.