Saturday, August 6, 2022

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2022: "The Real Black Swann , Confessions of America's First Black Drag Queen"

Day: 2

Show: 5


By: Kurkendaal-Barrett Productions

Created by: Les Kurkendaal Barrett

Location: Rarig Center Thrust

Summary: A solo storytelling piece about the country's first drag queen - a former slave, as it relates to Les' experience being a Black gay man in America.

Highlights: It would be enough to tell the fascinating and ground-breaking historical story of William Dorsey Swann, a man born into slavery who became the first gay rights activist, but this is master storyteller Les Kurkendaal, so this piece is so much more than history. He weaves a compelling story that combines history with the present, the personal (Les' experiences with racism and police injustice throughout his life) with the political (the murder of Black men from Trayvon Martin to George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter movement). This is the first time I've had the pleasure of seeing Les perform live, and he's quite captivating. He doesn't just sit there and tell his story (with no notes or anything), he moves around the stage, using props, and pulling us right into the story with him. The Real Black Swann is a fine example of a solo storytelling show that's both intensely personal, and highly relevant to the current world we live in.