Becca Blackwell

playwright and performer

Blackwell is a NYC based trans actor, performer and writer who exists between genders, and prefers the pronoun "they."  They have recently created the autobiographical They, Themself and Schmerm, inspired by the trainwreck of a self-produced video by Corey Haim called Me, Myself and I.  Previous work with Circus Amok and playwrights Young Jean Lee and Lisa D’Amour helped set Blackwell on a conscious path of working collaboratively with playwrights and directors to expand our sense of personhood and the body through performance.  Their current solo show brings what was described in Bomb Magazine as “the razor-sharp timing of a stand-up comedian” to a very personal exploration of how our physicality and family history shape our selves.

 

Engagement Information

Child abuse, identity questions and existential angst: perhaps not typical fodder for a comedy, but there is nothing typical about this performer.  For their solo show coming to Duke February 12-13, Becca Blackwell (a he-she-schmerm ginger who was in the circus and enjoys cute sweaters) chronicles their struggle with abuse, sexuality and gender in a laugh-out-loud family tragedy.   “It’s just gonna be me talking about—and hopefully I do it in an interesting and engaging way and give people a space to enjoy—the humor of being molested.”  This raucous romp of a show gives the Duke community an opportunity to catch an amazing performer on their way up, challenging themself and their audience to question old assumptions and see with new eyes, laughing all the while.

Professor Jody McAuliffe first encountered Blackwell when they worked together on Sibyl Kempson’s premiere of Now Let Us Praise Susan Sontag at Abrons Art Center in New York. McAuliffe decided Theater Studies had to bring this cutting edge artist to Durham upon learning that Blackwell had received the 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award (recognizing artists based on evidence of exceptional creativity, self-challenge and the potential to make significant contributions to the field.) Providing space and time for artists like Becca to continue development of their work is a primary goal of the Theater Studies Theater Previews program.