D’yan Forest shocks and awes with true (and blue) tales.
FringeNYC’s oldest performer mines laughs from life, not age
BY SCOTT STIFFLER | She’s been likened to Betty White — but 78-year-old D’yan Forest, who has the distinction of being FringeNYC’s oldest performer, defies categorization or comparison.
White, our last living Golden Girl, has recently surged in popularity by using her 90 years on the planet as a free pass to shock and awe us with profane words and deeds. As the co-writer and performer of “I Married A Nun,” Forest (a longtime Village resident) is not above working blue.
But judging from a preview DVD of “Nun,” she earns audience adoration and cascading waves of laughter the old-fashioned way — with honest material based on hard times and real struggles. A brave performer equally skilled in the use of humor and pathos, Forest doesn’t expect her audience to simply delight in the fact that she’s a senior citizen behaving badly. Although there’s plenty of that, her advanced age is more than a quick and easy punchline — it’s the source from which her survivor’s spirit flows.
“My greatest hope is for audiences to walk away inspired,” Forest says, imploring conflicted searchers of all ages, “Don’t hide. Don’t be afraid. No matter how different you might be, live life to the fullest, because it skips along much too quickly.”
That Forest regards her own journey as something of a giddy blur isn’t difficult to believe. Life has taken her from humble origins as a Boston-based Jewish gal to a series of globe-hopping adventures — including, as she tells it, “fun with the nun, tragic divorce, forbidden nights in the demimonde of Paris and humorous mishaps of falling off a camel in Tibet.”
These and other ribald tales are interspersed with song parodies sung by Forest — who accompanies herself on the ukulele. Even if you emerge from the experience without finding a specific anecdote to identify with (not many of us have actually married a nun), Forest’s epic past and her present desire to keep exploring will inspire you to take risks and open some new windows…so that by the time you reach her ripe old age, you’ll have enough dirty, funny, wise stories for your own FringeNYC show.
I MARRIED A NUN
PART OF THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL
Sat., Aug. 11, 9pm
Tues., Aug. 14, 7:30pm
Thurs., Aug. 16, 5:45pm
Sun., Aug. 19, noon
Tues., Aug. 21, 3:45pm
Run time: 75 minutes
At the Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond St., btw.
Lafayette & Bowery
For more info, visit dyanforest.com/fringenyc
Tickets: $15 in advance, or $18 at the box office
To order, and for a full schedule of FringeNYC events, visit fringenyc.org