Saturday, September 16
A delirious anti-narrative of American emptiness, violence, and nonsense — part exorcism and part enema! With styrofoam wings, x-mas lights, and ketchup. “Phyllis Diller meets Artaud!” “Like Kellyanne Conway woke up from a coma after overdosing on sleeping pills and reading too much Gertrude Stein.”
AMERICANA PSYCHOBABBLE exists somewhere between irrational healing ceremony, sad clown song, dance in the abyss, and desperate diatribe to take back ecstatic nonsense as an act of resistance. It is an attempt to both exorcise and exercise our demons. “If you took all the run-off and sludge from the screaming industrial complex where they assemble the American dream and then molded it into a golem!” (Brad Wrenn, The Berserker Residents) “When the political life of the country looks like an absurd circus, it is only appropriate for the clown to speak up. Tatarsky is the jester, the villain, the imprisoned princess, and the knight on a rescue mission. Frightening and frightened, she somehow embodies both ends of the political spectrum making us understand a simple thing: there is no ‘us’ and ‘them.'” (Asya Danilova, Theasy) AMERICANA PSYCHOBABBLE was born at the Pig Iron School from a photograph of fingernails painted with the American flag and developed while performing absurdist comedy for tourists in Cancun watching the RNC on TV, getting out the vote in rural Pennsylvania, and as a clown school graduate in the aftermath of a clown’s election. All of these sweaty & troubling experiences deeply informed a piece that both questions and indulges in the healing possibilities of laughing at the grotesque. ARTIST BIOS: Called “frantic, kinetic, manic, and mesmerizing” (Theater Storm) and “a hilarious, finely tuned absurdist” (Theatre Jones), ALEXANDRA TATARSKY (writer/performer) experienced fleeting fame as Andy Kaufman’s daughter and often performs as a mound of dirt. Her shows Beast of Festive Skin and SIGN FELT! were commissioned by La Mama ETC and have toured around the country. She teaches classes on holy fools at the School of Making and Thinking (Abrons Art Center) and on performance as community organizing at the School of Authentic Journalism (Mexico City). Current research interests include Russian futurist zaum poetry and Lecoq movement pedagogy as twin practices of embodied resistance to authoritarian thinking. Tatarsky is a 2016-17 Movement Research artist-in-residence. Her work is largely inspired by street mimes and fake nails. MERYL SANDS (co-director/dramatruge) is a queer theater artist and Jewish activist. Born and raised in NYC, she now lives in Philadelphia, where she completed an MFA in Devised Performance from the University of the Arts/Pig Iron School. Her directing work includes XY Scheherazade, a story of queer survival by Eveylyn Shuker-Haines (Philly Fringe Festival 2013). In 2016 she had the pleasure of playing Will/Leslie in Sensitive Guys by MJ Kaufman at the PlayPenn New Play Development Conference, and Garcin in What It Looks Like by James Haro in SoLow Fest. She has performed at FringeArts, Dixon Place, The Drake, Plays & Players, Tabu, Franky Bradley’s, a West Philly apartment and a house boat.
Pay What You Can / 60 minutes