Part of the Bailiwick’s Pride Series, Jamie Black’s monologue “Living Inside Myself” charts his odyssey from girl to man. Black is an enormously winning performer whose self-deprecating wit charms the audience, and he effectively employs minimal props (an Ace bandage, a suit jacket) as indices to the simultaneously confining and liberating potentials living inside our conceptions of gender. But Black’s monologue ends up domesticating the unruly subject of transsexuality; behind the mentions of strap-ons and ooverectomy lies a relatively conventional story of a journey from shame to self-empowerment. Instead of exploring the implications of transsexuality for both conservative and progressive assumptions about gender, “Living Inside Myself” sticks to “men are like this, and women like that” routines; even if Black is uniquely positioned to comment, these jokes don’t get much funnier coming from him. Paradoxically, the confessional quality of most of the monologue ends up obscuring the impact of Black’s own experience. One of the most moving moments occurs when he steps into character, presenting in quick succession the reaction of a psychiatrist and of his best friend’s mother to his new self-definition. The contrast between the former’s well-meaning befuddlement and the latter’s worldly acceptance speaks more eloquently about sex (and class) in America than any sociological or therapeutic generalization. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.