WHERE: studio/stage (Main Space) 520 N. Western Ave + Livestream
WHY: Becca takes an unheralded topic in asexuality and dissects her journey in an amazingly fun and poignant manner. Growing up in a world where men are supposed to be sexual beasts or considered inferior, she guides us through the story of her previous identity Robert, discovering how he fits in to such a limited social paradigm. WIth twists and turns galore, she navigates her tale in an incredibly humorous fashion with songs that showcase her immense songwriting talents (no surprise coming from the co-writer/composer of 2016 Top of the Fringe Winner “My Big Fat Blonde Musical”). When she reaches her point of no return, the raw vulnerability and ultimate perseverance is truly inspirational. This show is one of the most entertaining as well as important shows I’ve ever seen. Do yourself a favor and go see this show while you still can!!!!
WHY: I cannot lie: my heart broke in tiny pieces as I slowly realized the shame and confusion Kira had carried for years believing she was white. I was hit hard in the gut in a new way that was not familiar because Kira had unleashed an often quiet elephant in the room, the idea of white skin being superior – this gift of whiteness existing on high levels in our country and around the world, simmering still.
This hurtful reality of how Black people are seen by other people of color – and in some instances by other Black people – becomes clearer when we see Kira transform into her Ecuadorian mother, and lean into the audience as her Black father whispers “spooks” to a young Kira. A subtle stillness occurs in some audience members, while an uncomfortable laugh comes from others as the word hits the space. You know that this girl, right in front of you, right now, will not allow her past to hijack her future. Yet just as Kira gently breaks your heart she picks up the pieces in a contagious fervor and we see HER: a beautiful Afro-Latina young woman living her best life, no longer afraid to own her identity. We witness Kira loving herself, a splendid joy that arises deep down in the solar plexus, and when Kira starts to sing “I’m Growing Out my Afro” in all her glory, you start to believe that letting go of societal lies, shedding dead weight, and facing old pains will free your entire being.
This year there was a powerful thread occurring throughout the Hollywood Fringe: No more will we carry falsities of white superiority and propaganda by a white patriarchal system!
WHY: It’s hard to believe as you view Tanya physicalize thirty-five characters onstage – free, beautiful and vulnerable with the lights shining on her – that she was ever uncomfortable in her own skin. Tanya takes us on a global journey into Singapore’s culture as we find a woman battling for her identity, self-acceptance, and self-love… while discovering that colonialism has terrorized, infested and affected beauty standards around the world.
WatchingTanya’s solo show, I was reminded of the magic and necessity of sharing world dialogues onstage. Naturally Tan is a potent testament to how having a variety of bodies – different colors and forms – grace the stage as storytelling vessels expands the scope of American theatre. Multifaceted and multicultural theatre is essentially human and reminds us all of our similarities rather than our differences.