The Scent of a Man

Ladies, imagine for a moment a world without men. How would we cope? Or maybe — and this might be the real question — how wouldn’t we cope? That’s the lode that Boulder movement and performance artist Michelle Ellsworth mines in her reworked one-woman show Preparation Y, resulting in a lark that’s half science and half pure hilarity. Designed as the model for an intended tour to science and art museums, the EcoArts Connections-sponsored piece is influenced by the work of scientists but given flight by Ellsworth’s own physical and intellectual inspirations. Based on research about the shrinking Y chromosome (studies show that the number of Y genes has shrunk considerably, in comparison to female X genes), Preparation Y juxtaposes dry statistics with every absurdity one could possibly pack into the theme of disappearing men.

“The thing I love about it is that it is so fast-paced and incredibly funny. You just start choking with laughter at some moments,” says EcoArts director Marda Kirn. “There’s a whole man archive where they are collecting the ‘smells’ of men. They have the T-shirts of 98 men, and you can prepare them as you would a can of tomatoes. They collect spit samples of men. She looks at different methods of reproduction, what women will need to do, and even how other animals have dealt with it.

“You would think from the title that it’s going to be feminist-cranky, but it’s not,” Kirn adds. “It’s actually an appreciative look at men; she’s looking at the web of life and what would be missed, without being didactic.”

Preparation Y plays tonight through Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the very scientific Paleontology Hall of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, on the CU-Boulder campus; a brief panel discussion follows each performance. Admission is $10, or $5 for students and seniors at the door; visit
March 7-9, 7 p.m., 2011