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Writer-performer Staceyann Chin’s new autobiographical solo show MotherStruck! blazes an epic arc through its 100-minute (plus intermission) journey. It starts with Chin’s childhood in Jamaica, including her mother abandoning her to the care of a coldly insensitive aunt and her discovery, as a tween, that she’s a lesbian. Young Staceyann’s reactive vow never to have children is forgotten once she’s old enough to break away from Jamaica’s gay-unfriendly environs and migrate to New York, there to find her financially challenged way as a poet-performer. The story line traces Chin’s road to motherhood — from the quest for a sperm donor through insemination, pregnancy, the birth and raising of her daughter, and finally to what it all has taught her, expressed as full-on feminist manifesto.
Chin’s script is well structured, funny, and moving, her comic delivery exhibits veteran game, and her physicality spans the gamut from lithely sensual to unabashedly gymnastic. She and director Cynthia Nixon make full use of Kristen Robinson’s abstractly designed circular set, not to mention the aisles, along which the performer doesn’t hesitate to launch herself like the human-missile-on-a-mission that she is.
At its heart, though, this cathartic bullet-train ride is a confessional narrative about finding oneself. And as with rail travel, ticket holders should come prepared to get on board and heed the conductor.
Written and performed by Staceyann Chin
Lynn Redgrave Theater
45 Bleecker Street