Jenna Horton performs a relay race against herself: she strips naked, does a jumping jack, puts her clothes back on, races to crack an egg into a pan, then dashes off to sing karaoke while performing a jaunty dance. Rachael Camp kneels down in a chalk circle and explains that Jenna has been spending a lot of time alone lately, doing what she calls “closing down shop.”
Each of the seven performers gets their turn to strip down—and a bit of time under the metaphysical spotlight, as well. What is sincerity? How do you produce it? Tattoo tours, naked jumping jacks, tickle torture, feats of strength;is nudity any way of showing sincerity? Does athleticizing it activate or veil its emotional generosity? For a show called THE SINCERITY PROJECT, the trauma it contains is surprisingly sublimated. After dunking herself into a bath of ice cold water, Jenna strips again and whips a chair with her wet shirt eighteen times while Ben cooly counts the lashes. Everyone has had to do a kind of relay race, but Jenna’s is longer, more exhaustive and complex, and more terminal than the others. Over this, Rachael discusses the kinds of things Jenna is making space in her life for: lots of reading, particularly about hyperobjects, which are phenomena too large to measure, like global warming.
THE SINCERITY PROJECT treats sincerity like a destination as intangible as a hyperobject is immeasurable—a destination to approach but never arrive at. [Plays & Players Theatre 1714 Delancey Place] September 8–18, 2016; fringearts.com/sincerity-project-2016.