AMERICANA PSYCHOBABBLE SHAKES UP OUR PATRIOTISM
It all started when...
Americana Psychobabble is introduced to audience goers as “a post-inauguration exorcism, an irrational rejuvenation ceremony, a delirious investigation of American violence & emptiness. Its findings exist somewhere between sad clown song, dance in the abyss, hysterical healing ceremony, and desperate diatribe to take back ecstatic nonsense as an act of resistance.” –Broadway World Brooklyn.
On June 10th 2017 at the esteemed Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I sat down for an evening of what would be non-apologetic political theater pushed to the limit. In a combination of performance art, theater, and dance. Americana Psychobabble is truly not what you would expect from a solo act.
As the lights dimmed and the evening began, we were greeted by lead performer Alexandra Tatarsky. With smeared red, white and blue makeup that both resembled your worst nightmare clown impersonation and your drunken aunt at holiday, Tatarsky introduced herself and began the evening with a welcome speech. The high-pitched persona began with part one of a series of performed emotions that would take us for evening.
The welcome speech that grew into blurbs and mumbles, what would begin making sense, and then slowly peal off into a rant. A rant that often reminded you of some of the worst parts of the Americana culture and the funniest. Ironically enough, Tatarsky reminds us that the two elements often co-exist as one. Or rather, the two often have to co-exist so we the outsider may cope with the extremes of either one. From friendly, neighborly phrases that quickly turned gruesome and racial. Tatarsky engaged the entire body through movement and speech for this one-hour monologue and performance.
A speech that would grow into a ritual that invites the audience, Tatarsky mocks the appropriation that Americans often and so easily engage in. In doing so, the audience soon finds themselves standing, inhaling, exhaling and laughing in a mock up yoga healing ceremony. The laughter doesn’t end there as Tatarsky makes her way around the stage set, engaging with props, such as the American favorite…ketchup. While eating this ketchup on a makeshift finger hot dock, Tatarsky begins to project the sauce back up and onto the floor. And let us not forget the old radio playing familiar tunes.
The journey around the stage takes us to unchartered places of the American psyche, what feels entertaining is quickly rendered as a reminder of some of our darkest traits as a society. We begin with laughter and end with pensive silence. Tatarsky’s Americana Psychobabble is jaw dropping with both laughter and shock. A refreshing take on the things we deem “normal” called out on stage for the world to see from a white femme perspective, a truly rare and divine performance, engaging all senses.
Americana Psychobabble forces the American to take a hard look in the mirror. In times of intense political climate Tatarsky forces us to do so in the most witty, and sharp way. Co-directed by Meryl Sands, Americana Psychobabble brings us performance art meets the black box theater for an evening of comedy, shock and awe at this year’s Arts and Activism Festival THIS IS NOT NORMAL by The Brick Theater. Just in time to reflect on our Independence Day rituals, Americana Psychobabble a must see.