WHITE GIRL presented by Maythinee Washington as part of the 2011 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. You can read the show description here.
WHITE GIRL is a solo performance art piece of personal examination told by “employing found text & sound with movement and pantomime.” In all fairness, I need to state that these types of work are not my favorite to attend. To me the audience’s enjoyment of the work is tied to an individual’s emotional response to what is conveyed by the artist. When I have trouble reconciling the theme, the artist’s written statements about the show and the actual performance, then my reaction turns to confusion and frustration.
Most of the “found sound” pieces used were extremely old. Sound tracks from those ’40s and ’50s classroom movies in the vein of “Reefer Madness.” In one, a stern male voice lecturing young Jack and Jill about “How Can You Tell if You Are Ready for Marriage?” (A film I’ve seen roasted in an episode of MST3K.) These films are something my parent’s would have been subjected to when they were in high school, but I fail to see them as a contemporary influence on this young actress when she was growing up. The same is true, for me, in the use of the soundtrack of the “Mystery Date” board game commercial, which I vaguely remember as a child. Again how did this influence a young woman young enough to be my daughter?
More contemporary influences are shown in the off-handed use of pages ripped from fashion magazines and the like, but for me it is an obvious choice and not new territory. The show does finish strong as the performer embraces herself and her heritage. As I stated earlier, this type of performance speaks to the individual so your response to the piece will probably be completely different from mine.
The ArtWorks performance space does have a raised playing area, but sight lines are horrible for all but the front rows whenever the actress goes to the floor. Moving those scenes as far upstage as possible would help with sight lines.
Three performances of WHITE GIRL at Artworks remain: Tonight (Thu, June 2) at 7:15pm, Sat, June 4 at 8pm and Sun, June 5 at 3pm.