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Truscott goes solo for 'This'

Comedian and cult cabaret star premieres new work locally

BY Nicole DeLawder • weekend@thehudsonvalleynews.com



WEEKEND: Hudson Valley-ers are familiar with your work with the Wau Wau Sisters at Bard College’s Spiegeltent, what brings you back to the area for “This?”

TRUSCOTT: I fell in love with the area since I starting coming up for summer performances at Bard. My boyfriend and I eventually bought a small piece of property and have worked our fingers to the bone to pretty it up. We now have a small, off-grid solar cabin – a tiny house, I suppose – which we are convinced will be our salvation and security as artists in this ever changing world.

I started a small version of ‘This’ while at my cabin during a performance series named ‘Catch’ which happened at Basilica [in Hudson] last summer. So it makes perfect sense to continue working on it up here, with the generous help and gorgeous surroundings of Mt. Tremper Arts.



WEEKEND: Your last show, “Asking For It,” tackled topics like rape, what did you learn from that show and how has it influenced “This”?

TRUSCOTT: I guess I learned – and I’ve always thought this – that if you take risks that feel worthy and are rigorous in your work, you are on the right path. A lot of people, understandably, thought ‘Asking For It’ might have been a ‘bad’ or ‘misguided’ project but I felt really clear about how and why I was doing it, and it turned in to a really powerful piece. But my definition of taking risks doesn’t just mean ‘risky’ material or topics. I did that show as stand-up comedy because it felt like a form that would allow the material to be insurgent in places, venues and rooms that might not otherwise be open to such a politicized conversation about that topic. It was a trick, in a way! But I had never done stand-up comedy, so that piece also taught me that taking risks in your work can mean experimenting with form.



WEEKEND: How long have you been working on “This?” What are your inspirations?

TRUSCOTT: I started working on ‘This’ last August. I was actually completely and utterly exhausted for about eight years of non-stop touring, often doing two shows a night. But I had to do five minutes of something for ‘Catch’ and I had been sick and in bed. I had these four letters with lights in them. I had actually bought them to spell the word ‘sh*t’ in lights, as an admittedly juvenile art project. I second-guessed it and switched the letters and liked how immediate and wide-open ‘this’ seemed to mean – as in I made ‘This.’



WEEKEND: Your work from the Wau Wau Sisters to “Asking For It” addresses fierce feminist ideals with a bold sense of humor, how has the recent political climate influenced your work?

TRUSCOTT: It has mostly made me want to write, and in some ways wish I was a lawyer! The political climate feels so dire it’s all I can do to process the mountains of damning information, scandal and dangerous policy. I’m still figuring out how to process the politics of it artistically and abstractly.



WEEKEND: What can guests look forward to during the preview performance?

TRUSCOTT: A curious and mysterious physicalized performance of a book that I think I wrote that morning. It’s playing around with presence, memory, authorship, narrative authority, linearity, truth, fiction, autobiography, creative sources and what demarcates performance, intention, execution. In some ways, I mine my own past and current large group and solo pieces for material available for theft and repurposing.



WEEKEND: Anything else you’d like to add?

TRUSCOTT: Please come along! It will be one of my first, but hopefully not my last, solo evening-length pieces in my soon to be new home in the Hudson Valley!




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