Fringe NYC 2015
In a one-hour tour of the heart of this queer storyteller, Matthew Dicken takes us through his time in India. Through scenelets and song, sprinkled with sassy humor, we try to understand what we never can, but can appreciate it with our hearts.
UNDER St Marks has been transformed. With brightly colored sheer fabrics, and a backdrop hung that gives just the impression of the Indian sun setting on the sea, the space has become a room of pleasure. Incense drifts on the air, and our host lounges comfortably to the right, with his laptop in front of him. The story begins when he kisses that laptop, and we won’t figure out why for another forty-five minutes.
In butyou’reaman or: The Seven Men I Came Out to in India, Matthew Dicken takes us on the journey through his own queer and cultural discovery during his time in India. Through his words we come to understand that we never can, in fact, understand another culture, especially one as foreign to us as India.
The exposition might be a bit too long, but Dicken’s love of words is evident and he is forgiven by his sass and wit, and the ownership of the tale he weaves before us. The direction from Arthur Strimling is excellent; we are kept on our toes by the imaginative staging and movement within such a simple space. Dicken’s seamless portrayal of scenes between himself and his lover are moving, and nothing is taken away by the light accents he adopts for the performance.
When Dicken touches on his experiences with Indian Hindra culture, and how these people have been ostracized through British Imperialism, we are wanting of more of this. The man is obviously an expert on queer history. But this isn’t really a criticism, rather it is an example of how we are left itching for more, not wanting to leave this magical hour. In butyou’reaman, we get to scratch the surface of this love story, the audience only getting to see into the reflection of a much greater pool, like Dicken himself could never have become Indian, and we are all left tourists with a colorful veneer of queer.