Talk to Me About Shame

Theater, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
Talk to Me About Shame, fringe festival
Photograph: Abigail Euke Talk to Me About Shame

For more than two years, Julian Goldhagen has been interviewing close friends and total strangers about the nature of shame. Now, clad only in an adult diaper, he’s continuing that talk onstage. In this solo performance, created with director Kevin Hourigan, a mostly nude Goldhagen presents a mix of monologues, recorded interviews, mime and interactive therapy in the hope that sharing moments of shame—and inviting others to do so—will remake them into something empowering. Goldhagen is a charismatic storyteller who captures the audience with the sheer precision of his body language. (He can grab us with just an arch of the eyebrow.) But despite some splendid moments of monologue, the piece feels amorphous overall; its constantly shifting nature inhibits a substantial exploration of the subject. Although Goldhagen presents a multitude of ways to look at and think about shame, he never quite demonstrates the transformative power he sees in it.—Chris Corbo

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