“Post Traumatic Super Delightful” at the Minnesota Fringe Festival: Clowning about rape, harrowingly
Rape culture on campus has finally been receiving increased attention in the past few years, but you’ve never seen an account of it quite like Antonia Lassar’s Post Traumatic Super Delightful, now being presented at Phoenix Theater as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
In a one-woman show based on “interviews with a huge range of survivors, bystanders, college faculty and staff, and perpetrators,” Lassar maps a geography of the discourse around campus rape through both interludes of clowning and through recreations of composite versions of her interviews.
Lassar, a Boston native currently based in New York, has honed this show as tight as a drum, and it’s impossible to look away as she embodies a counselor, a faculty member, and a young rapist, telling the story of a drunken assault perpetrated by “Brian” on “Julie.”
We don’t hear directly (or, as the case may be, indirectly) from Julie, but Lassar takes us inside Brian’s mind: his justifications, his troubled family life, and even his confusion (“If we were both drunk, why am I the rapist?”). Brian, as we learn in the play, thinks he actually comes off pretty well in Lassar’s account; you can decide for yourself.
The clowning segments use a red-nosed goofball as a stand-in for survivors (including Lassar herself) who are expected to recover promptly and parade around reassuring the rest of us that we don’t need to worry about them any more. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that you’ll never hear Gloria Gaynor or Destiny’s Child quite the same way again.
Post Traumatic Super Delightful is an important show, and Fringegoers would do well not to pass up this opportunity to experience it.