They, Themself, and Schmerm
TBA:17 and Artists Repertory Theatre
September 8, 2017
Becca Blackwell’s They, Themself, and Schmerm is a one-person show embracing and challenging the stand-up form. The hour-long performance starts off with a 90’s tinged video montage introducing Becca through childhood photos and pool-side interviews. Becca then enters the space from behind the audience launching into a frenzied series of exaggerated physical vignettes that has the audience immediately chortling. As the audiences guffaws, the lights shift and Becca centers themself, removing a layer of performativity and making fun of what they just did. Each of the 3 entrances/reveals swiftly brings the audience closer to a more authentic and vulnerable Becca and initiates an evening of confrontational, hilarious, and sincere storytelling.
Similar to other narratives centering trans experience, They, Themself, and Schmerm includes many stories revolving around bathrooms. From fart jokes, to adolescent dares, to familial crisis, Becca locates the bathroom as a place of hilarity, fear, and humanness. Without stats or policy briefing, Becca effectively reminds the audience that many of us take public bathrooms (and so much more) for granted and are complicit in the trauma many folks experience on a daily basis. But with each story, the bathroom scenes have a growing sense of Becca-ness that make it clear this exact experience could have only happened to this exact human on stage. Becca points out that this is not a trans show, it’s a Becca show. It’s this sense of specificity and Becca’s sheer vulnerability that allows They, Themself, and Schmerm to successfully take the audience from snort-inducing-laughter to genuine human connection.
Becca describes themself as a “NYC based trans actor, performer and writer.” You can learn more about their work at http://www.beccablackwell.com/.