22 October 2010

Topher Cusumano: Timeline

The recent spate of gay teenage suicides has given a lot of us reason to pause and contemplate just why young people still feel that there is no other way out than to kill themselves. What have people been telling them or doing to them that this is the only way thatthey can attain peace?

Although Topher Cusunamo cannot answer that any more than any of us he does provoke further thought through his queer performance pieces (traditionally called poems, call us old fashioned!). He is in his own words a recovering child actor turned poet and performance artist and he can certainly deliver his lines in a way which makes you stop and listen. Fluidly conversational, questioning, arch and climactically angry Timelines is certainly a provocative piece, declaimed in the first person and taking us through the life of a young gay individual, from pre-teens to early twenties.

You can see why Cusunamo is widely regarded for his art and is becoming increasingly popular both in his home town of New York and wider afield. He can be seen regularly as performer in residence for Coffee Black Productions and is hosting Filthy Filthy in November which promise a wealth of queer performance and which is widely anticipated.

Cusunamo has a lot to live up to as his previous one man show Roughhouse received critical acclaim when it premiered at the Left Out Festival in 2009. One review from Nytheatre.com declared Cusumano is a compelling and original artist. He presents difficult, controversial concepts that disturb our world view—performance art at its best. We have to agree having seen the video above. Stage Left Studio’s 2010 Left Out Festival (that's quite a mouthful) saw the premiere of his two person play Shame, Simon, Shame which as well as having a really excellent name, played to packed houses.

In fact Topher Cusumano’s output is such that you wonder when he gets time to draw breath let alone partake in the creative process. However, we at Kuriositas think that there is a lot more to come from this talented young artist. After having taken our breath away he quite likely will keep it as his own before blowing it back in our faces.

You can find out more about Topher and read his poems at his website, queernoir.