Perf(ucked), a new piece conceived and performed by Somerville Black, premiered at the University of Windsor. A true display of vulnerability, both physically and emotionally, Perf(ucked) explores the evening of a model/waitress as she discusses her life with the artists sketching her.

I was astounded at the level of openness Black infused into this piece, as an actor as well as the character. To spend the majority of the piece naked and posing for the artists requires a level of bravery you don’t frequently see in such an intimate space and which I found inspiring. It not only solidified the reality of the setting, but it enhanced the themes upon which the story was going to hit, and made the character’s confession to her observers all the more poignant.

perf(ucked) production photo

One of the first things the model talks about to her observers is about body image, particularly in regards to larger bodies being used as models. The way she talked about what was desirable made me feel great about my body (no easy feat). But she goes on to talk about her life, her concerns, and her experiences as both waitress and model. There is an honesty to every story she tells; a depth of truth that comes from lived experience. Her sincerity penetrates every story she tells, leading to the climax confession of being assaulted by a co worker.

That final story, the moment of ultimate vulnerability, with flashes of light revealing her bared body, was simultaneously beautiful and painful. The words painful to hear, the presentation impressive to witness. To divulge this information to these strangers, even though she doesn’t go into the nitty-gritty of things, takes Herculean strength reflected in the pose she’s holding for them. It was so raw it cuts straight to the heart, and the reality of the situation and it’s reflection of the current zeitgeist with the Me Too movement etc. added a beautiful depth to the stories she’s told.

I was astonished by the raw artistry of this piece, and how deeply it immediately affected me. Keep an eye out for more opportunities to experience this moving piece of theatre, you won’t want to miss it!

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