Exploring Identity, After the Election

Exploring Identity, After the Election

"Schmerm" is typically the pronoun  "he" and "she" smashed together in a messy effort to be politically correct in the presence of a trans-gender person.

"Schmerm" is typically the pronoun  "he" and "she" smashed together in a messy effort to be politically correct in the presence of a trans-gender person.

It comes as no shock that the Under The Radar theatre festival would have at least one show regarding identity and sexuality, especially considering the tensions President-Elect Donald Trump has created with the LGBTQ community. They, Themselves and Schmerm was a unique, autobiographical, stand-up style performance directed by Ellie Heyman and performed by Becca Blackwell that does justice to the trans-community by offering their inspiration, insight, and understanding of figuring out one's identity. The performance featured Becca Blackwell who uses witty comedy to tell their story of being adopted and raised in religious, urban Ohio as a woman, who eventually became confused and unsure of their female status. One day, they (pronoun of choice) cut their hair short. The audience laughs along with Becca as they jokingly explain how this prompted their decision to transition to a man. Throughout this journey of crude humor, Becca simaltaneously manages to create an intimate relationship with her audience by sharing fragile information about being raped, at church, Jesus Christ! 

    Gender identity is an increasingly popular topic in the world of performing arts. When Donald Trump was elected President, outraged LGBTQ students of the NYU community took to Washington Square Park to peacefully protest with songs and poetry about the strength they planned to exert together during his presidency. Integrating these themes of acceptance and identity into the theatre is necessary- and it's happening already. Because I have helped curate the New York International Fringe Festival for the last three years, I have come across enough works on this theme to create a whole separate LGBTQ category for the downtown summer theatre festival. This is because theatre can reach its many different target audiences, making it a perfect medium to preset these ideas. 

NYU Experimental Theatre Wing students congregate in the Tisch lobby to watch Hillary Clinton's concession speech before joining the LGBTQ protestors in Washington Square Park. 

NYU Experimental Theatre Wing students congregate in the Tisch lobby to watch Hillary Clinton's concession speech before joining the LGBTQ protestors in Washington Square Park. 

NYU students representing every combination of identity came together to express their feelings about President Trump winning the election. 

NYU students representing every combination of identity came together to express their feelings about President Trump winning the election. 

    Of shows I have personally seen in this category, Becca’s is the only one to be crafted in front of the audience. Sharing hilarious experiences with public restrooms and genitals and dark memories of being molested as a child made finding both genders an act that could get lost in translation. By the end, I was attached to Becca’s comical yet poignant take on gender, sexuality, harassment, and resistance to the status quo.

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Laughing Uncomfortably

Truth in Performance

Truth in Performance