Having been raised in Eugene, Oregon, by the second generation flower-children of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, Ylvan Starchild-St.Clair is an interdisciplinary artist who had a very colorful upbringing. For most of their childhood and early adulthood, they studied ballet and classical dance forms supported by a community of equal parts circus performers and political organizers. These influences, along with vivid games of make-believe they enjoyed as a child, laid the seeds of a passion for the development and embodiment of complex characters. Now holding a BFA in modern dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a la certification as a Pilates instructor, Ylvan approaches theater from a kinesthetic mindset.
Ylvan came out as queer in 2019, and later as trans/non-binary in 2021. While studying for their MFA in Devised Theater at Columbia College Chicago, they found inspiration and community in the vivid drag scene there. Their drag king persona, Rippin Schwarzoff, a gender bending débonnaire dandy, cut their teeth on Chicago drag stages, before traveling abroad with them as their studies brought them to Germany, where they were embraced by the queer Berlin nightclub scene.
As the identities and bodies of queer people are once again increasingly a political battleground, Ylvan feels called to infuse the struggles, triumphs, and joys of queerness into the fold of their art making. As a performer who has belonged as much to what considers itself the high-brow performing arts scene as to the self-proclaimed filthiest of underground night-club stages, Ylvan seeks to marry their experiences in drag with the various other types of theater they have studied in Berlin and Chicago, bridging the gaps between spaces of queerness and spaces of cis-heteronormativity, highlighting and laughing at the artificialness of constructed boxes such as class and gender, and making the invisible defiantly, fabulously visible.
(this/or/and/that) - ADVENTURES OF A GENDERNAUT
How do you take your tea? What's in your pants? Simple enough questions, but not for our hero. Enter the mind of the GenderNaut on cynical, satirical, selectively sexy journey through the binaries. Take off your Blue and Pink 3D glasses, take their mysteriously sticky hand, and take a peek at our world through their eyes.
Try to stay out of the shaving foam splash-zone.
(performance contains flashing lights)