Kate Berlant is KATE at the Connelly Theater through October 8.
By Elazar Abrahams
Kate Berlant’s new solo show is the kind of thing you brag about having seen for years to come. From the moment you walk through the front doors of the tiny East Village theater, you know you’re in for a treat. For one, the star herself is sitting on a bench with a sign around her neck that reads “IGNORE ME.” The black top and jeans she will wear during the show are exhibited front and center as if to immortalize this moment. Walking to their seats, audiences pass through two recreations of Berlant’s childhood memories. Kate’s image is plastered everywhere, from walls to doorknobs, and even bathroom stalls. The whole affair is deliciously and purposefully over-the-top, and sets the stage for the genius take down and deconstruction of the one-woman show genre.
The roughly 70 minute act is hard to describe, but at least at the start, it is a lampooning of the indulgent off-off-Broadway productions that New York theater-goers have too often found themselves trapped in. Berlant self-mythologizes with a tragic backstory — a deadbeat father, unsupportive mother, and inexplicable yearning to be an actor — to hilarious effect. From there, each expertly choreographed tangent adds layers of meaning. KATE’s commentary on the audience as a performer and an artist’s relationship to the camera make it clear why director Bo Burnham was drawn to the project. Most importantly though, Berlant is very, very funny the whole way through.
Plenty of surprises are in store for the lucky folks that grabbed tickets to the show’s nearly sold-out run, and I’d be remiss to spoil them. Smoke machines, forks, and a couple of tears certainly play a role. KATE is not for everyone, as a lot of the humor is absurdist and eccentric. Fans of alternative-comedy, though, will gobble it all up. Berlant has been famous in niche internet circles for years, but get yourself to the Connelly Theater so you can say you knew her when.
Find ticket information HERE.