Heat indexes and the sheer quantity of shows aside, the numbers associated with Capital Fringe are generally kept deliberately small: budgets, cast sizes, tech hours, etc. So, it’s a fitting testament of the economy of the festival that the expansively named 75 Lezbos, 2 Trannies, 1 Pannie, Me & Me Too! is actually one actor embodying two roles simultaneously.
That actor is Corin Andrade, whose warmth and personality filled the already-sweltering but intimate theater in the DC Arts Center on opening night. The people she’s portraying are actually two versions of the same being: Me, who’s struggling with the tsunami of emotions—anger, sadness, loneliness, betrayal, horniness—that that’s crashing over her due to the recent dissolution of a 10-year romantic relationship.
The other character, Me Too, is literally her better half, the one who offers Me gentle encouragement, challenges her assumptions about herself and others, and recites quotes from self-help books and the likes of Gandhi, Rumi, and E.E. Cummings. The eponymous 75 lezbos are the women she encounters during her first year of post-breakup dating (the pair of trannies and lone pannie referenced in the title were never addressed, as far as I can remember).
Unlike many of the solo performances presented during Fringe, the story Andrade tells us is not her own; it belongs to Sean Surla, who wrote, directed, and produced the piece. Surla and Andrade apparently met during a speed-date, and when the latter revealed that she has a photographic memory, an artistic relationship was born.
75 Lezbos, 2 Trannies, 1 Pannie, Me & Me Too!
Written by Sean Surla
Details and tickets
Surla truly tests the limits of Andrade’s recall, and the performer rises to the challenge admirably. She’s at her best when she’s her most conversational and when her changes in energy and emotion more clearly telegraph the difference between Me and Me Too. The weaker moments tend to reveal the potential downsides of performing someone else’s truth: when Andrade’s eminently impressive memory briefly falters in spots, it feels more like a person reciting lines or giving a TED Talk than telling her own, deeply felt story.
Surla, as a writer, walks the tricky line of articulating the particulars of her uniquely personal experience while also making her story universal in its resonance (as one fellow audience member said as we walked out of the theater, “I’ve been heartbroken, and that’s exactly what it feels like.”).
At its worst, 75 Lezbos, 2 Trannies, 1 Pannie, Me & Me Too! feels uncomfortably like a hit piece against a former lover who’s not offered the opportunity to defend herself. But at its best, which is most of it, it feels like a real conversation between two people—and that’s the magical number that represents Fringe at its best.
75 Lezbos, 2 Trannies, 1 Pannie, Me & Me Too! . Written and directed by Sean Surla . Featuring Corin Andrade . Reviewed by John Bavoso.