One might assume from the rather (un)clever title of Taylor Mac’s show that The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac would cover a full spectrum of work. Not so. Really, what the show presents is a beginner’s introduction to drag. I guess that was OK, because before sitting through this show I really didn’t know performance art could be such a drag. I am not going to blame Mac entirely. Maybe it was the exertion of my long, rushed bike ride just to get to the show or the uncomfortable heat inside the venue or the uncomfortably cramped wooden pew. Probably it was because the show ran unexpectedly long, thus conflicting with other shows in the TBA line-up. All of this was then agitated by what I found to be a lackluster performance from a superficially lustrous performer. Again, maybe not entirely Mac’s fault, 6:30 was, admittedly, a little early for sparkle and flare.
Aside from the outlandish make-up, there just wasn’t anything about the show that was innovative or provocative. While I appreciated the nature in which the show progressed: Mac threw clothes from previous performances all over the floor and changed outfits while changing scenes, there just wasn’t anything for me in the show itself. I found the dialogue too rehearsed to be confrontational. Even the presumably off the cuff stuff just didn’t feel like it was in the moment. Probably the most aggravating aspect of the show was that as a member of the audience I wasn’t even responsible for reacting to Mac. He unabashedly reacted to his own material and, frankly, I just didn’t have the energy to react to his reaction. That’s not the audience member I want to be. Not that I could have responded with much fervor anyway. Moments that should have been “oh, no you didn’t just say that” were more “what did you just say?” I didn’t feel that the show was smart or sharp and possessed only the requisite amount of sass. Alas, I have run into very few people who felt the way I did about the “play”, so please, don’t take my word for it.