Are Women’s Sexual Fantasies Compatible with Feminism? Miranda Huba’s Dirty Little Machine

by Grace Evans

In Miranda Huba’s brand new play, Dirty Little Machine, Jane meets a repulsive and depraved “weasel” of a guy and hopes that either his foul-mouthed chauvinism will give her the boost she needs to embrace feminism and reject her degrading sexual fantasies, or give her every opportunity to fulfill them. As a child she found a dirty paperback novel, which has come to define what she finds erotic – and she fears that her sexually depraved fantasies are at odds with her feminist impulses. 

The show begins slowly with Jane, played by Joanne Wilson, girlish but confident in her admissions of her masturbatory history. Once she meets the “weasel” Dick, played by Ben Mann, the pace picks up and moves at a sprint through their relationship. Mann’s comic timing is excellent and Wilson’s versatility pushes the play forward from dazzling, raucous spectacle to quietly disturbing intimacy. Huba, an accomplished Canadian playwright, writes hilarious dialogue spit out by Jane and Dick, which really makes the play enjoyable and interesting. The story examines the expectations of intimacy and sex within relationships, and the consequences of sharing one’s perversions with a partner through a feverish, dreamlike lens. 

An intriguing aspect of the play is the questions posed regarding feminism and sexual fantasy. When Jane baulks at Dick’s suggestion that they film themselves having sex to make money, he accuses her of not being a feminist: “I thought you were all into female empowerment. You had an abortion didn’t you? What’s more empowering than making money off something you already like doing.” Jane considers her own sexual desires and whether they fit into a feminist identity, which ultimately determines her relationship to Dick. 

The production will play a three week engagement at The Red Room in New York City until June 4. Shows are at 8pm Thursday through Saturday. For tickets ($18/$15 students & seniors) visit or call Smarttix at 212-868-4444.  

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