When we were contacted about reviewing the Curran’s last show of their “Under Construction” series we hesitated because Brittany was going to be in DC for work. However, I thought if this show has even half the entertainment value, innovation and beauty of the previous show we saw at this venue…I really needed to be there! So while Brittany was being snowed in, I took my reoccurring stand in Garrett Lamb and we powered through the rain and headed downtown.
Taylor Mac at the Curran: Under Construction (c) Jim Norrena
Katie: Wow. I have few words…still processing. All I can say is that was really impressive. I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life without experiencing, as Taylor Mac (the writer, performer, and co-director) called it, a “radical faerie realist ritual”. So, what did you think?
Garrett: I don’t know, but I think I liked it. The format was unique. Sort of a storytelling/musical/drag show/concert. And of course the venue was unique too!
K: Hell yeah! How cool was it to be on the stage of the Curran and be looking out towards the orchestra!
G: Totally. But thinking about the show, some of it didn’t make sense, and wasn’t very polished. Like when they handed out a pamphlet on “Equality of the Sexes” and didn’t really refer to it, or use it with the audience. Or when he wanted us to be eating apples but his “dandy minions” hadn’t given them to us yet. But I guess Taylor did mention this was a workshop in progress. That said, everything else was on point and very moving and entertaining.
K: Agreed. For a performance art piece, this is the one of the best I’ve ever seen. I mean, to be able to command the room like that for three hours was really special. Plus, the idea of doing a 24 hour concert later this year in New York is super intriguing. But I can’t lie, I was really distracted by the fact that Nancy Pelosi was sitting in our row!
G: Me too! That was amazing, I’m glad Nancy was into it. I wonder what she thought when Taylor stripped down to only a golden thong, and then gave her husband a lap dance!
The Verdict: It doesn’t matter if you like or don’t like performance art, drag shows, or musicals. This is a very special experience that should be had by all. Taylor Mac’s performance was provocative, present, raw, hilarious, honest, beautiful, uncomfortable, comforting all the while very philosophical.
The Drama Talk: I’m not going to lie, when I saw that this show was 3 hours long without an intermission I thought twice about going, but the time went by so fast it was crazy. From the venue, to the ridiculously amazing costumes, down to the talented band there is so much to see and hear, there is never a moment you are daydreaming about your instagram feed. I do think time went by so fast because the show has interactive moments where you will be asked to participate. I usually don’t like to participate at the theater but the way it was done in this piece really enhanced Taylor’s theme of “imperfection fostering community”. That night we were a community and this was more than a show, it was a profound shared experience. Go in with an open mind and you will leave with a heart full of love for how art can change lives.
The Drinks: There is a bar on the stage. So get there a little early and grab a drink. And don’t worry, even though the show is 3 hours with no intermission there are little breaks where Taylor changes costumes and you can run down to the bathroom.
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music runs through January 30th at the Curran. You can purchase tickets on Curran’s website for $50.