Taylor Mac, The Young Ladies Of...

Review in Issue 21-3 | Autumn 2009

The flamboyant, charismatic Taylor Mac is on a mission to re-discover his late father in the delightful mix of poignant, surreal, and simply laughable moments that is The Young Ladies of… Through a carefully constructed space, complete with fairy lights, over-sized hanging letters, and the all-important smoke machine, there is an air of heavenly nostalgia that permeates this honest account of Mac’s life and his obsession with knowing ‘2nd Lieutenant Robert Mac’ who died when he was just eight years old. From the scattered remains of identical, unopened letters (a fictional representation of the many correspondences his father received after placing a personal ad in an Australian newspaper), Taylor Mac delves into the lives of these faceless characters in an attempt to re-evaluate the assumptions he makes about his place in Mac history, and subsequently reinvents the man he calls ‘dad’ through a dialogue between his own childhood experiences and the fictionalised lives of the women he encounters. Despite the autobiographical nature of this material, Mac manages to lead the audience through a myriad of questions relating to our own heritage and familial rituals with an accomplished use of character comedy, puppetry, ukulele playing, singing, personal slideshows, and audience participation. Led in a chorus of What’s the use in Wondering? from the soul-searching musical Carousel, Mac plays with the futile nature of truly knowing someone, of distinguishing between memory and fiction – and he continually reminds us that the discoveries we make about the people in our lives will never be enough to understand the complexity of our own selves.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2009

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-3
p. 26