IMPRESSIONS: Adrienne Truscott’s “This” at New York Live Arts
April 6, 2017, 7:30PM
Creator and performer: Adrienne Truscott
Director: Ellie Heyman
Video/Sound/Set Designer: Carmine Covelli
Lighting Designer: Mary-Ellen Stebbins
Stage Management: Charlotte Murray
Adrienne Truscott, best known for Asking For It, her satire on rape culture, premieres This at New York Live Arts. Truscott is the poster woman for today’s working artist. Instead of compartmentalizing her countless roles, the salty-tongued artist embraces her circus artist/dancer/comedian/activist/essayist self in performance.
This is a brash non-linear confessional that bounces from 2017 feminism to the presidency to unconventional urban living. (At one point, she reveals she and her boyfriend lived in a camper with a portable toilet that they dumped at various city locals). Yes, Truscott may take it too far sometimes, and yes, she may make you blush. But, above all, she makes you think and feel. And while you may not connect with everything she spouts, her convincing delivery grabs your attention.
At the outset, the artist assumes the traditional comedian stance. Sitting atop a stool, microphone in hand, Truscott hits us hard and fast — maybe too hard. She expounds on the many ways the phrase “suck my d***” can be used. Before one can take that in, she has moved on to the similarities between abortion and comedy: Timing is everything. Her inventiveness is impressive, but how long will her quips last?
Luckily, under the direction of Ellie Heyman, This possesses a chameleon-like tone, which gives opportunities to refresh and refocus. Throughout the evening, Truscott changes eyewear and costumes that include aviator glasses, a shirt saying RIOT, and a fringy number resembling a wooly mammoth evening gown. By offering new visuals, including a faux grand piano made of duct tape, it’s easy to get lost in Truscott’s zany stories.
Though there isn’t dance in This, the performer’s history as a mover is apparent. Treating her monologues and storytelling like choreography, she carves through space judiciously with impeccable timing. Her presence commands our eyes and ears to follow wherever she goes. Truscott compels the most when she shares a story about a much older man taking nonconsensual photos of her on a beach. Her pauses, her shift from one hip to another, and the way she casually remembers the mint green bikini she wore are haunting.
This makes you want to crawl into Truscott’s mind and see what else is inside. Memories (ones that may or may not be true) collide with today’s headlines, musings of what makes gripping art, and feelings about one’s body. It’s strangely comforting and relatable. It’s not preachy or over emotional. It’s exactly what it should be in this moment.
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