Laughing and Learning About Non-Monogamy: An Interview With Mindy Raf
“We all get into our heads and create these boxes that keep us from experiencing other people’s stories ...”
Blurb: With an open mind, heart, and vagina Mindy Raf demolishes the romantic comedy and the roles we play in it in her critically acclaimed solo show NOT THE ONE: a love story. Honing the perfect blend of stand-up, storytelling, and musical theater chops, Raf demystifies love, loss, and sexuality, and engages her vulnerable, razor-sharp storytelling style to face the complexities of modern love and leave us asking, “could I ever do that?”
When people talk about non-monogamy and polyamory there’s often a bit of concern in their voice and fear in their eyes. In comedian Mindy Raf’s show NOT THE One: a love story you’ll put those feelings aside and laugh hysterically about the topic. Mindy just came back from bringing her solo show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is now performing it in NYC. I sat down with her to talk about why Curve readers should go to this show to have a good laugh about the particulars of open relationships.(And if you’re not in NYC follow her to find out when it’s coming to your town!)
What was your journey in developing this piece?
I started out doing stand-up comedy primarily, but looking back I was always doing more of a combination of stand-up, storytelling and music. Getting to this show was a long process. As I was developing a new half hour of stand-up in 2015, I realized my older material didn't feel true to my experiences-specifically my queer experiences, so I scrapped most of what I had and wrote a new 30-minute set that I debuted at Solocom at the Peoples Improv Theater. After that, I wanted to arc those jokes into a narrative using anxiety and grief as a frame-which became an hour solo show No Thank You. Then in 2016, I started working with a director-the wonderful Tara Elliott- who really helped me to deep dive and add in my experiences with non-monogamy. This was key, and really reframed all the material. The show we developed, KEEPING MY KIDNEYS debuted the day after the election. We recently took it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and it is now retitled and revised as NOT THE ONE: a love story. Whew.
What is your show about specifically?
NOT THE One: a love story blends stand-up, storytelling, and theater. It's a live queer romantic comedy that weaves together what my mom taught me about sex, love, and relationships with my current non-monogamous relationship structure. It's the story of me coming out about my identity and non-monogamy to myself, to the audience, and to my mother (from the grave). But, it's funny.
What should the average Curve reader expect when they come to the show?
They should expect to have a great time! Perhaps learn about something outside their wheelhouse or get reacquainted with how they view love and relationships. I identify as pansexual, bisexual and queer and in the show I talk about navigating that identity through lesbian social spaces in a loving way. It’s an intimate show. I’ve heard from audience things like, “I learned so much but I didn't feel like you were trying to teach me something.” Or “I don’t agree with how you view love and relationships but I really related to your story in so many ways.” We all get into our heads and create these boxes that keep us from experiencing other people’s stories, but the show is about getting out of those constructs being kind and joyous to yourself and others. The crowds are always so fun, doing the show truly feels like a bunch of people hanging out. I’m really excited to do it again two more times before we take a little time off.
Friday May 4th
357 West 36th St., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10018