So this year the work-in-progress show at undercurrents is called The Shit Show, a 25-minute musing on our cultural fascination with and refutation of feces. Since this is a work-in-progress I can’t really evaluate this as a production unto itself, but I will speak to the concept and what steps creator/performer Luna Allison has taken so far.
The concept is simple but wide-ranging: we have a complicated relationship with the byproducts of our digestive system. Allison starts the show by going the religious route, noting that early Christian scholar Valentinus wrote that Jesus ate and drank but did not defecate, and thus pursuing the notion of excrement as dirty and shameful. It’s a fun introduction but the sheer amount of related topics that Allison could explore within this theme leaves a lot of possibilities: in one segment she discusses various ways people prevent others from hearing them drop a deuce in public washrooms, but misses the opportunity to explore the role gender plays in the situation (If poo shame can be considered an extension of body shame as Allison implies, then there are probably differences between how men and women feel about it. Most public washrooms are still segregated by gender, after all). Allison also adds some personal details that give us a better idea of why someone would choose to create a show about this subject area: as someone who grew up with germaphobic tendencies, this research and exploration suggests someone finding out as much about their own relationship with poop as everyone else’s. Because Allison’s own story is super specific to her own experiences, I would suggest perhaps using that as a departure point into the greater theme of all things shit.
Overall though, how is this as a work-in-progress? Fun and silly. The amount of thought and analysis that Luna Allison has already put into this show about a truly universal experience results in a script that keeps her relentlessly and cheerily plowing through some amusing disgusting material, and it put a smile on my face.
The Shit Show
An Emergence Production
Created and performed by Luna Allison