A queer stand-up comedian will tackle self-identity and acceptance in under an hour as part of Nanaimo’s 12th Fringe Festival.
As a self-described “ex-religious queer” from Toronto, Laura Piccinin will perform Lesbihonest at Gallery Row, 299 Wallace St., between Aug. 12-14 and Aug. 19-21.
Piccinin comes to Nanaimo from the Saskatoon and Toronto Fringe Festivals, where Lesbihonest won her the Patron’s Pick award last month.
In her narrative storytelling, she said a lot of her material originated from years of mixed reactions when coming out. She also said people can expect a lot of sarcasm in her show.
“[It’s] an autobiography of my life, all my ‘comings out’ over the years and the kind of commentary about how the perception of gay and queer people has shifted over the last couple of generations – just experiencing that as a ‘straight-passing’ person, having to come out to people over and over and over again and how that’s changed,” she said. “Everybody had a unique and interesting horrible reaction that, now, is very, very funny … And it’s always different and it’s always bizarre … A lot of people, even to this day, they say the weirdest things to me.”
One of her goals with Lesbihonest, she said, which has been workshopped for more than five years, is to provide an open and welcoming environment for people who may not be familiar with queer culture.
“There is a little bit of lecturing, but its mostly to get people to [our] side with kindness … and I think if I can bring them in with humour, they’ll stay.”
She will also challenge dated prejudices on what it means to “look and be queer” today, saying she prefers to represent a more subtle “we’re hiding amongst you” type of queer person.
“That’s what my mom had such a hard time with – she told me ‘well, I wouldn’t know if you were gay, you can’t be gay.’ And I thought, that’s because you think there’s a certain way to be gay. And I would love to introduce you to all the people who you don’t think are gay because they don’t look it enough.”
Piccinin will continue from Nanaimo to the Victoria and Kelowna Fringe festivals through the rest of August and September to finish her B.C. tour.
Ticket information and specific show times for Lesbihonest in Nanaimo can be found at www.porttheatre.com.
According to a release for the Nanaimo Fringe Festival, which runs Aug. 11-21, the lineup this year will include five Nanaimo acts and a Lantzville-based theatre company, alongside touring performing artists from Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Washington and San Francisco. Each artist or company will put on a six-show run at either the Port Theatre, the OV Arts Centre or the Gallery Row outdoor stage. The release also noted a free preview night will be held at the Port Theatre on Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. featuring five-minute teasers of each festival show; tickets for which will need to be reserved online in advance.
More information the shows and the festival itself can be found at www.nanaimofringe.com.