there is a vagina through which
reminding me of that first
experience entering the world:
pink carpets and walls
that feel as if they could pulse
there is a melting.
a gradual slipping away of pretense and armor.
i am not easily softened
in the theater
until i am softened
and then i am a puddle
i am swimming and i am free
alive present breath-ful
these are my favorite shows. they are rare.
i am not easily softened in the theater
because i am endlessly afraid
of how my own body will be marked here
i love shows that leave me disarmed and cracked open
whole and heart, forward.
held. i emerge from that cocoon of pink
and menstrual pads
and i remember Becca Blackwell’s
invocation of where
we each feel most alive
most assured of purpose
most aware of those places
between our thighs
as they be free of any constructs
i am crying before i know it.
the melting is intimate
in the ways this play is intimate
demanding me to notice
i spend the next few days
thinking of who named parts
of my own body
and did i consent to this naming?
and what are the names i would choose
what are the collection of sounds i would make
if i lived in a forest where no one was around to hear?
90 minutes in front of and within a thousand
vaginas awakens something
where i can study my own body differently
there are the golden thighs before me
with pink public hair
and labia through which
the world of the play spins
there is Snatch Adams
themself who embodies
a vagina at various states of being:
in their salmon cardigan ála Mr. Rogers
they are a vagina on their best day
they have never thought about their own desire
they name their dreams
and they are stunning
and we fall in love
over and over again
i am left on the edge of my seat.
we begin with a clown nose as a clit
Snatch Adams asks a member of the audience to find
for years i have been telling friends
i want to be a clown
and i don’t know how to explain it
except through wonder
in a class on this
we bend our knees and open our mouths
and let our jaws hang low and we stare
at one another
and we laugh from our bellies
the melting is structural, intentional
a peeling away of layer
puppets embody HIV and UTIs
audience members who have never had a period
race to put on sanitary belts
and answer trivia questions about
that infamous time of the month
rendered mysterious for time immemorial
this is shed too
we are taught by this melting
to be with one another differently
to recognize our inherent
we have bodies!
that bleed and age
and sweat! these are are bodies.
those of us wit periods
nod along at recognition
we are seen.
i am twenty-five and gender binaries leave me feeling frozen.
i live by a quote by Hunter Ashleigh Shackleford:
“What gender is ‘she’?
What gender is ‘nigga’?
How can you misgender me without knowing my gender?
How can I give you a power that only comes with a shared intimacy?
I don’t know y’all niggas. And you don’t know me.”
this vagina does not make me woman
i am always Black
i come from Blackwomen
and i am becoming free.
there are moments where i am acutely aware
of my Black body in this theater
this play is markedly traversing
realms heralded by white flesh
there are moments
where i feel myself clamoring
for representations of my own
this is not lost on the play
in one moment
Snatch Adams reading fan mail
on how they can only represent
is a breath of fresh air
in a world
and virtue signaling reign
there is a rest found in this
refusal to pretend
that any single play can encapsulate
all there is to know
lived by all the world’s vaginas
in our final scene with Snatch Adams
we see this character bleeding out
at that time of the month
a purging a release
and a new beginning.
Becca Blackwell emerges.
the comic, writer: honest, raw
it is a theater magic in which
i believe they are a new person
not a six-foot-tall vagina
(AND still holding the epic-ness of that six-foot-tall vagina)
but the writer of this journey
for which there was
the most profound purpose.
i am left here,
as Becca hugs the golden thighs
and they come alive. i am left holding,
after a moment where i imagined myself free:
the moment you name something, you take away all that it is.
i want to remain nameless, fluid.
this is community.
the longest relationship you have is the one with yourself.
Snatch Adams and Tainty McCracken Present It's That Time of the Month plays at Soho Rep through December 3, 2023.