We’re all a landscape of memory… Those are the words uttered by Ryan McKelvey during his personal performance piece “Beyond Dirt Knees”. His is an atypical coming of age story that reminds us are memories shape who are but not who we ultimately want to be. McKelvey delves into his past with a poignancy that avoids cliche and a brutal honesty that that steers away from overt sentimentality. His tale begins at home as a child surrounded by a family of women who raise him and a father figure who lurks on the periphery of his life coloring it shades of gray.
McKelvey navigates the audience through a thorny path of adolescence and puberty, shaped by the twin forces of sexual and gender identity, and how the experience shaped the young man he came to be, the man he is today, and who he wants to ultimately be.
The performance is intimate, immediate, and striking not only due to McKelvey’s delivery but also the stark crumbling brick set. Co-directed by Zoya Sardashti whose subtle touch nevertheless leaves an indelible impression, Beyond Dirt Knees explores the inner life of one man coming to terms with himself.
Beyond Dirt Knees was produced by Home Soil, an artistic production company based in Seoul. All ticket sales for Beyond Dirt Knees were donated to Chingusai, Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group.
If you failed to catch one of their future performances. Next on their agenda is an invite only site specific work by Sardashti: Waking Up Iranian-American.
“Identity is political. It becomes dangerous when politics narrow or cut the lines of communication between yourself, your family, your community, and other cultures.”