Coming off a week surrounded by trans, non-binary, and two-spirit folk as a playwright at the 2023 Breaking The Binary Theatre Festival, I began to feel a specific kinship to my non-binary existence and more so even to the idea of trans-ness. It felt faithful to my body to call it trans. Even more, I started to feel the shaky foundations of identity, gender, and expression begin to solidify as I added the trans to the non-binary to my body, exacerbated by when I overheard my cast talking about hormones and their partners and their love of our trans bodies. I connected to myself in a way I never had before as I moved closer to myself and some kind of definition of what it feels like to live in my body.
And the body often poses questions that we are unable to hear.
Snatch Adams and Tainty McCracken Present It's That Time of the Month, co-created by the wonderful duo of Becca Blackwell and Amanda Duarte, puts you back into the womb. I walked into a vagina, a hole, an opening into a pink arched hallway. The ombre of pink light (design by Kate McGee) bounced around the velveteen-folded archway and soaked everyone’s faces. Our mouths were left open and we snapped selfies before being greeted by an even bigger vagina, a gigantic set of legs, and a late-night show set. It was more Ren and Stimpy than The Tonight Show. Filled to the brim, the set brought me into a new world.
Greg Corbino’s production design gave the eye much to ponder, when jokes landed flatly or there was a moment of silence as we waited for a volunteer to raise their hand and give our main host, Snatch Adams (Becca Blackwell), a wallop of herpes sores. Fallopian tubes climbed the walls. Pads with blood splatters in the shape of babies accented the room, pulsing with veins and wrapping around every surface. Corbino’s work was its own character in the show, almost consuming but most importantly, beautifully transformative—contextualizing the power of the show’s relation to the audience and the sweet, touching ending.
Tainty (Amanda Duarte) spent most of the show lobbing off a specific brand of masculine comedy that is well known—his penis has been removed. He was simply a butthole and testicles. The banter back and forth between Blackwell and Duarte was witty and quick—filled with my favorite things: puns, wordplay, and a little off-color humor that was uncomfortable yet poignant. Though most of the show was improvised, there was an enjoyable air of theatrical expertise and comradeship that was endearing and made the jokes more delightful. I found myself imagining what a night out would be with the duo, watching them try to keep up with each other, improve each other's jokes, and remain focused on the lightly sketched out plot of the show. I couldn’t help but guffaw in between swigs of my beer. I was at a very special kind of queer late-night show, a daring outset from a more play-like convention that is usually slotted in a season at Soho Rep.
Every late-night show has a special celebrity guest: we got Bridget Everett! A truly delightful surprise. The banter between the three was delightful and Snatch’s interview questions led us into an unexpected place as Everett talked about her mother’s recent death. The bodies here and the bodies gone suddenly vibrated. The show's wrinkles and veins began to connect.
Which brought us to the end of the show. As the veil of the late-night talk show fell away, the vaginal facade was discarded for a moment—Blackwell returned, dressed the way they normally dress, their voice less cartoonish. They lead us through some jokes, more grounded and real, about their gender and their presentation. Then Blackwell invoked a prayer: a prayer to our bodies and spirits. In so doing, Blackwell reminded us of the power in our bodies and our connection to each other, in that space and outside in the world we actually live in.
Snatch Adams… asks you to drop your guard, providing levity in our hard world. This invitation wraps around the body and makes you feel warm, closed in, and safe. And safety is something queer bodies, particularly trans and non–binary bodies, seek. A safe place to grapple with your insides, your hidden parts, and what it looks like on the outside. Safety invites laughter, joy, and reflection.
I entered into a world that was a part of Blackwell’s mind personified. The “capitalism breaks,” the set, the puppets, the games, the improvised moments all invite you into a world that’s a piece of Blackwell’s mind, a piece of their body. As they entered the womb, their mother’s vagina, the lights faded and the giant legs lit up, the legs moved up and down. What we had been watching the whole time, in its beauty and intricacies, was alive the whole time.
The show’s ending is meant to be a space of holding, where you can hold your body and accept it for what it is and what you want it to be. I left the show with a little skip, feeling more comfortable with my body and its appendages, and planning how to get even closer and closer to my truth.
Snatch Adams and Tainty McCracken Present It's That Time of the Month plays at Soho Rep through December 3, 2023.