Performance Review: YELLOW TOWEL Mar 4, 2016

by Calie Swedberg

i am a blonde woman.

i am a blonde woman who grows my hair out twelve inches or more at a time in order to chop it off and donate it.

i am a person who takes pride in my blonde hair.

i imagine it as a wig on the head of some white child with no hair of her own. i imagine her joyful.


there is a wig on stage, made up of some blonde hair.

a black woman. a blonde wig.


i have never before considered what my blonde hair might mean to that black woman.


Yellow Towel is a deep and unrelenting investigation.


it is very quiet. until it is quite loud.

it is very white. until it is green.


it begins with the lights still up on the audience.


they fade so slowly.


the stage, so white, reflects light in a way that never allows the audience to hide.


i was trapped in my awareness of others.

who are you- patrons of on the boards- who are unmoved by this show? why are you here? what sort of performance are you looking for?

are you the people that would write to your mayor about the distastefulness of having “to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from [your] way to work every day”?

is your appreciation of performance reliant on spectacle? noise? are you seeking something fast and flashy?

if you must distract yourself with facebook in order to stay in the room, then maybe you should make the choice to leave.


Dana Michel. she is all in.


she embodies a character that, to me, represents so many layers of the fucked-up system and the fucked-up state of deprivation surrounding us.

she is the person we pass by on our way to work in the morning. out of her mind, high on the drugs that leave one out of control of their bodies, of their speech and their logic; talking to walls; talking grandiose delusions; in pain, struggling, desperate.


i think of the speakeasy at velocity last weekend. of what it might be like to be a black person in this city. of what sort of white privilege might be guiding the disinterest in the people sitting in front of me.


i think of the people i encounter late night at glo’s. who just need a place to be. who sit down and unload their back packs. whose collection of things, worn and dirty, seems so disjointed- a trumpet, q-tips, rubber bands, a jar of marshmallow creme...


very little happens. it all takes its time.

i could live a lifetime inside this slow moving, gentle unfolding of very little.


if i see it again i will sit in the front. there is not a moment worth missing.

because there is not a moment she is not IN.


there is magic.

there is heartbreak (my own).

there is arguably some comedy.

there is a great amount of discomfort.


we are not left unfed.


i am touched in so many ways.

i am so grateful for this show.

i am so grateful to see a stage inhabited by such a real person.

i am so grateful to have met and spoken with her in the lobby afterward.


i am so far from finished digesting this one.