MotherStruck!: Theater review by Adam Feldman
Staceyann Chin has one of the most captivating voices in New York, and we’ve gone too long without it. A slam poet by trade—she was a standout in 2002’s Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway—Chin shapes personal and political themes into smart and passionate outpourings of language, exploring her identity (multiracial, transnational, outspokenly queer) in cadences that evoke her childhood in Jamaica. Her previous New York solo show, Border/Clash, was all the way back in 2005. Yet as her engrossing new piece makes clear, the past decade has kept her busy with other things.
Her once-signature Afro shorn into a tall, bright orange mohawk, Chin cuts a striking figure as she describes her tortuous path toward motherhood: her quest for a sperm donor, her scarily difficult pregnancy, her struggle to pay for her medical procedures (and make rent amid the rapid gentrification of her Brooklyn neighborhood). Directed astutely by Cynthia Nixon, MotherStruck! has an energy that the stage seems barely able to contain; at several points, Chin strides through the aisles at Culture Project, daringly intimate and radiantly generous with her experience. It’s great to hear her again.—Adam Feldman
Culture Project (Off Broadway). By Staceyann Chin. Directed by Cynthia Nixon. With Chin. Running time: 1hr 40mins. One intermission. Through Jan 29.
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