Theatre magic doesn’t happen every day or in every show. Those instances when time stops and you are transported from every day life into the world of a writer or a performer are happening right now at the FRIGID New York festival in a basement theater called Under St. Marks. The mastermind behind all this power brought to the stage is Tania Katan with Saving Tania’s Privates. A personal, witty, no-nonsense recount of a Jewish lesbian’s challenge with cancer since the age of 21.
The play starts with an invasive TSA airport pat down by a male security officer; Tania suggests the female security officer must be uncomfortable with the fact that she looks like a boy and has no breasts. Thus we are automatically introduced to the subject at hand and how it will be handled in the next 58min (give or take). Along the way we meet Tania’s bf gay, her colorful parents, her lump-spotting girlfriends, and the doctors and nurses who have affected her life over the course of a decade. Her body has her living like she’s running a 10k marathon, with constant check ups, training, running and stopping to grasp air. Each person in her life has given her a different perspective and obstacle as to how to live her life while always maintaining herself triumphant against a pesky body. I would hate to take away from the wonderful discoveries in this piece, so I will refrain from describing too much of what I hope you will go experience on your own.
Theatre has always welcomed stories of bravery, survival and struggle with dis-ease. There is a delicate balance between using the theatrical medium as a way of therapy while still conveying a message, and luckily Ms. Katan has created a raw personal comedy dealing with a serious subject matter with gusto and zero sentimentalism. She is here for the craft, not to replace the shrink’s couch. A lot of this success has to do with her crisp script and knack for storytelling. She has given us permission to laugh at her trials as we view before us not a cancer survivor, but a woman who has decided to grab life by the horns and ride that smelly bull – and oh how wonderful it feels when you can stay on top even if only for small intervals. This is the magic of the play, this is the strength of Ms Katan.
Bravo Ms. Katan, bravo! If you only have a chance to see one show at the FRIGID this year, make Saving Tania’s Privates the one – you wont regret it. While you’re at it order her memoir My One-Night Stand With Cancer, I have!
~~~Saving Tania’s Privates Written & Performed by Tania Katan Presented by AJ Epstein Presents Seattle, WA UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place) $12 Wed 2/23 @ 7:30pm, Fri 2/25 @ 9pm, Sat 2/26 @ 1pm, Tue 3/1 @ 6pm, Wed 3/2 @ 7:30pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 10pm
FRIGID New York Festival 2011 will run February 23-March 6 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1sr Ave and Ave A). Tickets ($10-$16) may be purchased online at www.FRIGIDnewyork.info or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. All shows runs 60 minutes long or less.