The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About
Written and Performed by Asia Gagnon
Video and Sound Design by Max Bernstein
Lighting Design by Nelson Downend
Torn Space Production Team – Gregory Robertson, Patty Rihn, Zak Noweihed, Jay Clarke, Brian Milbrand, Marisa Caruso
About the Performance
The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About, is a solo performance by NYC-based artist Asia Gagnon with video and sound design by Max Bernstein, an associate member of the Wooster Group . The show draws its content from an all-too-relevant subject in the time of countless sexual assault revelations, “#MeToo” disclosures on social media, and Women’s March resistance. It utilizes monologue and multimedia storytelling, employing a staggering blend of personal anecdote, mythic storytelling, and memes to reshape the misconceptions surrounding rape culture and victimhood. Gagnon masterfully handles the difficult material in her piece, which comes to Torn Space Theater fresh from The Performing Garage in New York City for a limited engagement.
Asia Gagnon directly engages audiences throughout her piece, continuing a tradition of solo monologue performance made famous by Wooster Group veteran Spalding Gray in the 70’s and 80’s. She draws audiences in with a DIY flare in her costume and set-changes that range from the expressionistic to the abstract. The performance is deeply integrated with the sound and media design by Max Bernstein, bringing a refreshing directness, and surprising humor to Asia’s finely crafted storytelling and observations. The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About is a high-speed multi-media ride through Gagnon’s narrative, her voice and a tricked out side-table being the only constants as she navigates disturbing content on the sails of oddball cultural immersions.
There are few crimes that carry the stigma of rape. People do not withhold information about stabbings or robberies for fear of judgement based on their appearance, but we live in a society where at least a third of women experience sexual assault in their lifetimes, and incident reports reflect only a small percentage of these events. How do we encourage people to talk about their experiences? How do we heal, and how do we make a better world? Gagnon asserts that society must change the way it thinks, recognizing survivors instead of victims, and bringing the dialogue out into the open where it can be confronted head on. Thus, Gagnon’s fierce humor is not aimed at the survivors, but towards the situation in which they find themselves. Humor has the vital and sometimes dangerous power to normalize experience, but Gagnon uses it with precision to normalize women and shame the crime, to remind us that survivors are people, not objects.