2022 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Atemporal’ by Sianna Joslin

A young nonbinary artist's diary in dialogue with the audience.

Atemporal is an autobiographical solo show by Sianna Joslin (she/they). It is the diary of a trauma survivor, structured as a kind of dialogue with the audience. The courage and hard work needed to tell this story are considerable. Sianna is to be congratulated for overcoming hardships that would have felled most of us.

There are bright spots along the way, such as her love for music. She references Fuse, once an indie alternative to MTV, and groups like industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails and Taking Back Sunday, who have been described as emo, pop punk, nu metal, and post-hardcore.

And ultimately her narrative is one many of us can relate to: the struggle for self-acceptance.

Misdiagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE), she has experienced much adversity, losing time, struggling with medication, and wondering how long she would live.

She asserts that “I am more than the fucked-up things that have happened to me”: “epilepsy,” mental illness, and a dead Dad, among others.

Her first “epileptic” episode was terrifying: she suddenly wound up flat on her back, after a seizure, having no idea what had just happened or what was wrong with her.

Sianna is nonbinary, and tells us about her top surgery, which had some unusual and humorous complications. She gives a shout-out to her wife (in the audience) and her physical therapist.

Her admiration for Elliot Page is seconded by the audience. Edibles, the BBC, and Trump gain a mention, as well as, of course, PTSD.

There is a “guess the song” epilogue during which she plays the guitar.

By its very nature, this production is always developing and changing. Though it will require further work, its greatest strength is its authenticity. Kudos to Joslin for providing a crucial message, new to many of us, but one we need to hear.

 

 

Running Time: 45 minutes, no intermission.

Atemporal plays three more times — July 17, 2022, at 7:00 PM; July 23 at 5:00 PM; and July 24 at 6:30 PM — at 3 Stars – Formerly DSW Georgetown, 3270 M St. NW, Washington, DC. To see the performance schedule and purchase tickets ($15), go online.

COVID Safety: The audience is to remain masked for the show. The mask needs to cover your mouth and nose the whole time. Proof of vaccination and ID are checked before entry.

Genre: Comedy
Age appropriateness: Appropriate for Adults Only

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Sophia Howes has been a reviewer for DCMTA since 2013 and a columnist since 2015. She has an extensive background in theater. Her play Southern Girl was performed at the Public Theater-NY, and two of her plays, Rosetta’s Eyes and Solace in Gondal, were produced at the Playwrights’ Horizons Studio Theatre. She studied with Curt Dempster at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, where her play Madonna was given a staged reading at the Octoberfest. Her one-acts Better Dresses and The Endless Sky, among others, were produced as part of Director Robert Moss’s Workshop-NY. She has directed The Tempest, at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheatre, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Monongalia Arts Center, both in Morgantown, WV. She studied Classics and English at Barnard and received her BFA with honors in Drama from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, where she received the Seidman Award for playwriting. Her play Adamov was produced at the Harold Clurman Theater on Theater Row-NY. She holds an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, where she received the Lucille Lortel Award for playwriting. She studied with, among others, Michael Feingold, Len Jenkin, Lynne Alvarez, and Tina Howe. Her father, Carleton Jones, long-time real estate editor and features writer for the Baltimore Sun, inspired her to become a writer.

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