When I reviewed Sarah Jones’s solo show Sell/Buy/Date this past October, I was reminded all over again what a genius chameleon she is (it had been a decade since her Broadway outing, Bridge & Tunnel, for which she nabbed a Tony). With subtle physical adjustments and invisible vocal re-calibrations, Jones morphs across gender, age and ethnic barriers to become a dizzying range of people: a stoop-occupying b-boy, a spunky Jewish grandmother, a theory-spouting millennial feminist and a dour “Euro-American rights” spokesman. In the show, she used a sprawling cast of characters to tell a sci-fi fable about how evolving social attitudes towards sex and sex workers might lead to greater liberation, but also new crises.
Now her prodigious talents are not confined to theater. Public Radio International has just announced a podcast called Playdate with Sarah Jones. In it, Jones “transforms into a cast of characters to connect with her guests and reveal their values and beliefs, explore their passions, and celebrate their unique journeys.” Upcoming guests include Grammy-winner India Arie, authors Baratunde Thurston (How to Be Black), Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) and the great Lily Tomlin (maybe they’ll swap characters).
Part performance art, part talk show, part radio drama, Playdate sounds like a great use of the medium, conjuring voices out of thin air to challenge our assumptions about authenticity and identity. Isn't that what art is supposed to do? Here's a trailer: