Here to Stay
Becca Blackwell pointed at me and said that I would be cast as the part of them that was extremely anxious about doing a one-person show. Around me, they assigned various roles representing their inner life and experiences to other audience members. But that didn’t matter to me, I’d gotten what I came for.
They, Themselves and Schmerm is Blackwell’s condensed life story told through hilarious personal stories and gobs of dark humor. An apt trigger warning is displayed before the show in which Blackwell casually and humorously remarks on the many abuses, sexual and otherwise, that they’ve endured in their lifetime. Through their stories, we learn of the struggle of identity that has plagued Blackwell for so long throughout their adventures and misfortunes in life.
To watch this 40-something year old queer performer talk about living after everything that they’ve gone through is amazing for a young queer man on the cusp of entering the world. Here’s a person who has survived for so long and through so much and not only are they still here but they’re telling their own story, on their own terms. It’s an act of self-declaration that is, in a way, the ultimate form of Blackwell’s identity. Trans, nonbinary, queer, what-have-you, it’s all important, yes, but the message here is not “these things are a part of me,” but “I am a person that is a part of these things.”
Being a queer performer is by no means a new thing. We’re everywhere, whether you know it or not. But existing as a queer person still remains, in this world, a radical act of identity. And coming across someone with stories to tell that we can relate to, even if the queerness is different in its makeup, is always, always, something to be treasured. When Blackwell locked eyes with me it was an affirmation of our shared identities as people, not actors. People part of something big and beautiful and queer as hell. That’s what I came for, that’s what I got.