Sex is funny

Lectures can be mind numbing. When people are told what to do or how to think in uninteresting ways they will often shut their brains off.

Lectures can be mind numbing. When people are told what to do or how to think in uninteresting ways they will often shut their brains off.

“Sex Signal,” a humorous and informative improv comedy show about relationships, sex and date rape, strives to educate by doing something different.

The show, playing today only in the Multicultural Center (Smith 228) from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., uses comedy and audience participation to talk about the communication gap between the sexes that can lead to misunderstandings and possibly sexual assault.

The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) helped bring “Sex Signals” to Portland State last April for Sexual Assault Awareness month and Angela Jensen, interpersonal violence program coordinator in the WRC, said they were excited to bring it back.

“What is original about it and neat about it is that laughter kind of helps people open up and let down their guard.”

The two-person show began seven years ago and constantly tours around the country, playing at universities, community colleges and even military bases. “Sex Signals” is brought to campus not only by the WRC, but also by many groups and departments such as Residence Life, student government and the Center for Student Health and Counseling.

The athletics department in particular was instrumental in bringing “Sex Signals” back, Jensen said.

In April the WRC reached out to athletics and got many athletes to attend. It was such a big hit that, according to Jensen, athletics told her that if “Sex Signals” came back they would participate. Jensen said they put in a considerable chunk of money to pay for it.

“It’s really neat that we can all agree on this and find a common way to get the message across,” Jensen said.

The show has pedigree behind it. Its creators, Christian Murphy and Gail Stern, have both been heavily involved in rape prevention and victim advocacy. Murphy is a certified rape victim advocate in Chicago and Stern was director of a counseling and advocacy network for rape and domestic violence victims at the University of Illinois at Chicago for seven years.

Both Murphy and Stern were performers in the show, but as of 2006 became full-time directors and producers. Kyle Terry and Fawzia Mirza will perform the show at PSU and they, like the other rotating group of performers, receive over 100 hours of training, according to Catharsis Productions, the company that puts on “Sex Signals.”

This show does not seem to be afraid to use humor to talk about subjects that may be upsetting. In clips on Catharsis Productions’ website, there are jokes about lame pick-up lines, double entendres and even large fake breasts the female performer dons at one point. They refer to “Sex Signals” as taking a “no-holds-barred approach,” to the subject matter.

The show will not only be good for those wanting to learn about sexual assault and dating issues, but for anyone interested in theater and improv arts, Jensen said. In order to keep some of the jokes and scenarios a surprise, Jensen didn’t want to go into too much detail about the performance itself, but said the audience participation aspect is important to the show.

One scene, Jensen said, involves a fake talk show where a woman describes leading a sexual encounter with a man. The audience is then asked if what was described was rape (they often say no). It turns out the description is the exact definition of rape.

“Sex Signals” “makes room for learning and thinking about this real serious topic in a different light,” Jensen said and says students “should come if they want to laugh.”

“Sex Signals”Today, Oct. 93 p.m.-5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.Multicultural Center (SMSU 228)