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      Poop — A True Story
    Dump and dumper

    Sit next to your own feces in a trendy gallery as a piece of performance art? Actress Micheline Auger has been there, dung that, and has now turned the experience into the hilarious play "Poop — A True Story."


    I guess the statute of limitations has run out on protecting Micheline Auger's dirty little secret. When she told the scatological story of her most bizarre acting experience as a monologue in the hilarious "Big Kiss," I hesitated to say anything about what she had done for fear of giving away the surprise. Now there's no more hiding the truth — it's right there in the title of her new show.

    Written by: Micheline Auger.
    Directed by: David Storck.
    Cast: Micheline Auger, Myles Evans, Kai Schmoll, Lauren Seikaly, Robert Valin.
    Kraine Theater
    85 East 4th St. near 2nd Ave.
    Aug. 8-24, 2003

    A few years ago, Auger answered an ad in Back Stage reading:

    Actress wanted to work with established artist for gallery performance piece. Interest in Asian philosophy a plus. Physically demanding. Some pay.

    "The physically demanding part? What's the worst they could do?" she thought to herself.

    The worst they could do — a job that's still too out-there for her resume but, luckily, not too unspeakable for the Fringe Festival — involved poop. Specifically, she was hired by an artist to produce some and sit next to it answering people's questions in a downtown gallery. Keep in mind, this was for art.

    The Japanese-born artist who has conceived this project (Lauren Seikaly) cheerfully explains what it will involve, referring to it as "your beautiful evacuation" and making it sound almost innocent. Auger is still reluctant.

    "I don't think I can do it in front of other people," she says.

    "You don't have to do it in front of other people," the artist laughs. "So silly!"

    So let's say you walk into a room and there's an attractive and friendly young blonde on a folding chair next to a piece of excrement. What do you say to such a person?

    Well, just to choose the most common question we hear people ask Auger, many want to know, "Is it yours?" (Answer: "Yes, I made it today! Do you like it?") Some people first ask, "Is it a dog's?" (Answer: No. "As if that would be preferable," Auger notes.)

    The play "Poop" does a lot of what the original exhibit probably was intended to do: gets us to think about the most undercontemplated everyday activity in all of our lives. If you have a contemplative mind, you may find yourself asking questions like: Why do we think of the poop as belonging to the person who expelled it? Why do different names for it sound obscene, clinical, or even cute, and which is appropriate to use in an art-analysis setting? Why is does it sound more acceptable for an actress to blurt out "I don't have time for diarrhea!" in a commercial than to discuss poop philosophically in a folding chair? What, fundamentally, is embarrassing about something every person on earth does every day? We never really ask questions like these because we privately flush away our own beautiful evacuations about as fast as we can evacuate them. We certainly don't put them on the floor for the public to admire.

    Of course, the very same taboo is what makes "Poop" hilarious. Auger and the rest of her cast talk about scatology with a whole range of attitudes, from forthright to sheepish to fetishistic, and every scene offers a new angle from which to laugh at our own hangups. We haven't even gotten to the part about anal modeling, which is almost funnier. It seemed a stretch to think that the 10-minute monologue of three years ago could be expanded successfully into a full-length, five-actor play, but "Poop" is hilarious and full of charm. Let's be thankful that Auger has given of herself so generously.

    AUGUST 11, 2003

    Reader comments on Poop — A True Story:

  • poop!   from nino cirabisi, Aug 11, 2003
  • poopalicious   from kirk wilson, Aug 12, 2003
  • i like poop   from kenny banting, Jul 7, 2004
  • i shat a brick   from Brad, Nov 24, 2004
  • Evans + Valin = Poop?   from Reg, Mar 21, 2007
  • poop-a true story   from jkiu, Sep 27, 2008
  • a true coment   from jackie, Feb 8, 2009

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