Lesbian Improv Group Targets Funny Ladies Over 50

By Serena Dai on December 4, 2012 6:49am | Updated on December 4, 2012 7:43am

 Iris Golden, 75, is starting an improv group for lesbians over the age of 50 to tackle women's issues with a gay point of view. 
Iris Golden, 75, is starting an improv group for lesbians over the age of 50 to tackle women's issues with a gay point of view. 
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Courtesy of Iris Golden

LAKEVIEW — A Lakeview woman is recruiting funny ladies who don't mind poking fun of themselves and absent-minded politicians for a new improv group — but it's open only to lesbians over 50.

The Center on Halsted and former comedy writer Iris Golden are hosting auditions later this month to form sketch comedy and improv group DNR, short for "Do Not Resuscitate." And auditions are only open to lesbians aged 50 and up.

"I always though once you hit 50, 'do not resuscitate' sounds pretty good," Golden joked.

Golden, 75, performed with improv group Mother's Kisses in the '70s after attending Second City workshops, along with actress Phyllis Katz, playwright Margaret Hunt and Bill Steinkellner, who went on to produce "Cheers."

She then wrote for the TV show "Tony Orlando and Dawn" and worked on the first gay comedy album "Out of the Closet." But the TV world was tough for women in the '70s, so she quit to focus  on a head hunting business.

Comedy and improv is her first love, though, and she hopes DNR will shine light on important women's issues with a gay perspective.

"I thought you could do more and say more if you could get people to laugh," she said. 

Why keep it to lesbians over 50? People in that generation will share similar experiences—better for when they start writing sketches about current events and women's issues, Golden said. 

"It may seem unusual," she said, "but I think it’s just more comfortable for people to share along the same lines and understand where we’re all coming from."

Potential sketches include acting out how a woman's body shuts down when raped, a commentary on Todd Akin's comments earlier this year, or takes on ever-popular sperm banks, "where you can watch your deposit grow up," Golden said. She hopes eventually DNR will perform in the Center on Halsted's 160-person theater every three months with a new show.

 Billy Steinkellner, Phyllis Katz, Margaret Hunt, and Iris Golden of improv group Mother's Kisses pose as a group in 1972. Golden is now starting an improv group for lesbians over 50.
Billy Steinkellner, Phyllis Katz, Margaret Hunt, and Iris Golden of improv group Mother's Kisses pose as a group in 1972. Golden is now starting an improv group for lesbians over 50.
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Courtesy of Iris Golden

For the Center, it's an opportunity to offer older LGBT women a bonding activity, said Maura Ross, manager of community and cultural programming at the Center. LGBT women experience isolation earlier than LGBT men, she said, and an improv group is a good way to build a safe, social space. So the Center is going all out: DNR will get professional marketing, ticketing and tech.

"It’s not just a casual thing," Ross said. "It’s something we want to be professional, something to commit to."

Auditions will be at the Center on Halsted at 3656 N. Halsted Ave. on Dec. 19-20 from 6-8 p.m. and on Jan. 5-6 from 2-4 p.m. Aspiring lesbian comedy writers aged 50 and up should email Iris Golden and Maura Ross a headshot, resume and brief bio at igolden13@aol.com and mross@centeronhalsted.org.

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