Evolving into its twenty-sixth year of presenting leading edge, intelligent, entertaining theater for loyal Dallas audiences, Deep Ellum’s Undermain Theatre presents the internationally acclaimed performance artist/ playwright Taylor Mac in a two week run February 3 through 13 of his one man show, The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac. The New Yorker describes Mac as “the talk of the town” for his unique multi-faceted performance pieces and plays.
Lakewood resident and Undermain artistic director Katherine Owens learned of Mac’s intimate yet spectacle-filled performances while on a recent trip to New York and felt his artistry was a good match for Dallas theatre-goer tastes.
Using highbrow and lowbrow humor, song (with ukulele accompaniment), movement, fantasy costumes and make-up and sharp-edged geo-political monologue to create an impression of “structured chaos”, The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac deals with the problematic subject of conformity. Mac’s performance shows how recognizing and celebrating differences are key to accepting the commonality of human experiences.
Mac inhabits a “drag” persona to make his point clear. “I needed to expose my inner reality, what I found I was hiding from the world. “ He expands the definitions of “drag queen” or “gay political performer” far beyond conventional female impersonation stereotype. “My work is extremely personal as I believe the more personal risk I take the more the audience will relate and see their humanity reflected back at them. So, through art, I try to be as masculine, feminine, ugly, beautiful, intelligent, base, chaotic, graceful, joyful, sorrowful, perfect and flawed as I am in real life.”
Taylor Mac is widely acclaimed as a playwright/performer phenomenon. He is the recipient of a Sundance Theater Lab Residency, a Rockefeller Map Grant, The Creative Capital Grant, The James Hammerstein Award for playwriting, The Edinburgh Festival’s Herald Angel Award, a Jeff Award nomination, two GLAAD Media Award Nominations, PS 122’s Ethyl Eichelberger award, a New York State Council of The Arts Grant, an Edward Albee Foundation Residency, The Franklin Furnace Grant, a Peter S. Reed Grant, and The Ensemble Studio Theatre’s New Voices Fellowship in playwriting.
Directed by OBIE-Award-winner David Drake, The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac has taken Taylor Mac on tour to The Sydney Opera House, The San Francisco MOMA and Opera House, New York’s Public Theater, Stockholm’s Sodra Teatern, The Spoleto Festival, The Bumbershoot Festival, Dublin’s Project Arts Center, London’s Soho Theater, and literally hundreds of other theaters, museums, music halls, cabarets, and festivals worldwide. He’s now here in Dallas, performing at Undermain Theatre, about ten minutes from Lakewood. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to witness a celebrated American artistic genius on stage.
Radio station WRR (FM 101) describes Undermain Theatre as “both literally and figuratively Dallas leading underground theatre”. It’s located at 3200 Main St. in Deep Ellum. Tickets: 214-747-5515, www.undermain.org
The New Yorker illustration by Mercedes Lagunas, February 1, 2010 edition