Performing Artist Case Studies
In the first video, Becca Blackwell peers into an old computer monitor with a maroon background and animated infinity line. Existing between genders, they have pale skin, short red curly hair, a mustache, and are wearing small round glasses and a crimson red button-up shirt. An automated voice speaks from the computer asking Becca if they are social or antisocial and if they’d like their OS to have a male or female voice. Becca hesitates and the operating system initiates. A close-up view of the computer screen shows the infinity line forming into a circle. A conversation between Becca and a figure on-screen ensues.
This ongoing video project started as promo videos for They, Themself and Schmerm, created by Becca Blackwell in collaboration with Nicholas Zeig-Owens and Jess Barbagallo. Reenacting scenes from 1980s and 90s films in ‘scherm’ form, this series has grown to include Dirty Schmorming, A Schmermus Line, Schermie the Pooh and Schmiglet, Schmermteen Candles, Schmermy Instinct, Schmermie’s Choice, The Schmerming, and so forth. The full series can be accessed on their website, linked to below.
Becca Blackwell is an NYC-based trans actor, performer and writer. Existing between genders, and preferring the pronoun “they,” Blackwell works collaboratively with playwrights and directors to expand our sense of personhood and the body through performance. Some of their collaborations have been with Young Jean Lee, Half Straddle, Jennifer Miller’s Circus Amok, Richard Maxwell, Erin Markey, Sharon Hayes, Theater of the Two Headed Calf and Lisa D’Amour. Film/TV includes: “High Maintenance,” “Ramy,” “Marriage Story,” “Shameless,” “Deadman’s Barstool,” and “Jack in the Box.” They have toured their solo shows They, Themself and Schmerm and Schmermie’s Choice across the US. Blackwell was a recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Artist Award, the Franklin Furnace award and the Creative Capital Award. External links: Becca Blackwell’s website, Bomb Magazine review.