MAR 30, 2020
January 2020 NYC
Jess Thom provided me with one of the most powerful theater experiences of my life and I see A LOT of theater. I was so emotionally engaged and positively thrilled I forgot to document and take more selfies!
I love Beckett and have read NOT I to myself aloud several times. This was an awesome performance of the play. The entire production from accessible space, quiet room, the relaxed pre-show, clean design aesthetics, thoughtful direction, sequencing of play, documentary, pairshare reflection into larger audience QandA was perfection. Casting The Auditor as a sign interpreter is artistically brilliant and made the show even more accessible. My body spasmed in the audience in similar ways to the actor and I felt seen, reflected, and served. I did my pairshare with Jim who had seen a lot of Becket and knew actors from original productions and really understood the text. I told him the story of me at 19 longingly caressing a collection of Beckett plays I couldn’t afford and she bought it for me. There was a slight creepy moment when everyone around us started listening to our conversation so I was grateful when it transitioned into QandA with Jess and a loud group vocal splurge.
I also ran into Beth Bienvenu, the director of the Office of Accessibility at the National Endowment for the Arts, creativity and aging, arts and James Carter program manager at Ann Arbor summer festival and friend from back in the day when I was artistic director of Smokin Word Productions. I have an old sticker on my walker and he totally recognized it! I loved the connections this production made with BECKETT and hip-hop.
Jess Thom has Tourettes, a condition that means she makes movements and noises she can’t control, called tics. Following award-winning Backstage In Biscuit Land, she takes on Samuel Beckett’s short play in a theatrical experience that explores neurodiversity and asks who is allowed to perform what and who gets the final say.