Double Recessive

Jordan Lloyd Watkins Credit: Robert Mo
Jordan Lloyd Watkins
Credit: Robert Mo

At The Cultch May 23, 26, 28, 30 and 31

Posted May 22, 2015

Think back. ‘Way back. Dominant and recessive. Oh yeah, Mendel’s Law and all that.

Writer/performer/filmmaker Jordan Lloyd Watkins is a redhead as a result of two recessive alleles doing the backstroke in his gene pool. While redheads are often the femmes fatales in film noir, in real life redheads get a bad time. Carrot Top, Rusty, Ginger, Rojo Diablo, Goldfish Head. “Better dead than red”, say some. Or, “Gingerbread not ginger people.”

It wasn’t always this way, according to Watkins. Cleopatra dyed her hair red and Jesus Christ is often depicted as a redhead.

But that was then.

In Double Recessive, Watkins posits a dystopic time in the future when redheads are mistrusted, feared and on the brink of extinction. Scientists are studying ‘Subject Red 1’, the last remaining redhead. It’s all in good fun and Watkins includes some hilarious camcorder footage his father took of him as a little redheaded boy so the show has the real feel of a mad scientist following the development of a redhead and delivering a scientific paper to an audience of colleagues.

Jordan Lloyd Watkins Credit: Frank Vena
Jordan Lloyd Watkins
Credit: Frank Vena

Double Recessive is a solo show but Watkins has video footage of a lot of local actors spouting opinions. Actor/writer/director Marcus Youssef solemnly states, “It’s only natural to want to breed with our own” as an indictment of ‘cross-breeding’ with redheads. Anthony F. Ingram, Richard Wolfe, Deborah Williams (a redhead) and a couple of dozen others wade in.

Part of the rEvolver Theatre Festival presented by Upintheair Theatre, this show   is pretty much all over the place but I learned a thing or two: sperm banks aren’t keen on redheaded donors (“the jizz juice from gingers”) and in 2014 redheads made up only 2% of the world population.

There’s a ginger in my family with no known redheaded ancestor. Must have been that Welsh musician my great grandmother Henrietta had a fling with before she settled down.