Beyond Dirt Knees

a narrative solo performance by Ryan M. McKelvey

Beyond Dirt Knees is an investigation of history and sexuality through media, memories, and movement. The performance builds itself around a specific experience Ryan had with an older man nearly three times his age. Beyond Dirt Knees speaks of family, personhood, and sex as it asks: How is one’s language of identity written? Is identity malleable or is it set from childhood? How does experience fit into the manifestation of self?  It is these experiences, and only them, which have made us who we are today, why would we ever want to take them back?

In July 2012, Beyond Dirt Knees was performed in Seoul at Gallery Jungdabang Project in the Mullae Arts Village with co-direction by Zoya Sardashti. All of the proceeds from this production were donated to the Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group, Chingusai

Beyond Dirt Knees is made up of impressions and stories I’ve revisited in different forms. It began as creative nonfiction in 2005/06, exists as several poems, and then was produced as a one-act play for the Pittsburgh Pride Theater Festival in 2007. In Seoul, it took its current manifestation as a solo show performed for a seated audience, and I feel good about this form. There is an outside presence within the piece, which in Seoul was performed by Gordon Trites, who relives memories with me; whether or not he speaks, I want his presence known.”