Taylor Mac set for Arches show
Taylor Mac is a once-seen, never forgotten sort of an act. His previous spell at the Edinburgh Fringe – and indeed the Arches – was met with plaudits and gongs galore. Denying any clichéd ticking of boxes, Mac’s gregarious hat-trick as performance artist, actor, and playwright swiftly defying expectation with a flash of his sequins and a turn of his razor sharp wit, and engaging ponderings on the world around him.
His latest piece, says Mac, is something of a self-exploratory little number. ‘I often get described as Ziggy Stardust meets Tiny Tim because I play the ukulele sometimes and often wear glitter. It’s happened quite a lot and I always wonder why, because I’ve never really felt akin to either of them. So I decided to jump in and figure it out. How and why do we compare as a society is the theme of the show.’
Ask then how he’d define his work and he’s reluctant to generalise, though admits that a post-modern neo-romantic pastiche pretty much sums it up. Those who have seen him would doubtless agree that wry ukulele-strumming, witty and biting socio-political observation, gargantuan wigs and ornate sequinned shoes from the neo-Romantic drag deconstructionists pretty much define Taylor Mac to a T. ‘I try to pull the pieces of the past apart, throw them down on the floor, rearrange the shards and make something new out of them, to celebrate the past but find a way to create new myths and stories that allow us to live in the present. In that sense I’m not reinventing the wheel but trying to see what else I can make out of that wheel,’ explains Mac.
He recently won a much-coveted Obie award but while his star is on the rise, his feet are firmly on the ground. ‘I want to bottle them [awards] so on the hard days I can sprinkle them over my head to remind myself success and failure are not linear. They come and go on a regular basis for all of eternity. One moment I’ll be up and the next down and if I can keep that in perspective I’ll have a much more sane life.’
Wise words from a wise and no less wonderful performer.