This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Friday showing of Madison Young’s latest work—a performance piece called Reveal All Fear Nothing. The show featured a mix of humor, drama, and a raw vulnerability that shows that above all else, neither the show nor Madison Young are what you expect.
Subtitled “a journey in sex, love, porn, & feminism,” Reveal All, Fear Nothing provides just that. From the official program, the show calls itself:
“…a multi-media performance and experimental theater piece”, the show was written and performed by Madison Young, a performer, writer, and feminist porn icon based. The show blends together art, humor, and interactive monologues that speak to Young’s experiences as a performer in the arts and in porn. Though most of her audience only known her for her work as a porn performer, in both mainstream and BDSM films, Young is so much more than that. Reveal All takes viewers on that journey, revealing intimate looks into the highs and the lows of where Young’s career has led her. Just as the title suggests, the show isn’t afraid to look unflinchingly at various aspects of Young’s journey into becoming a sexuality professional, her career, while juxtapositing it with humor and unexpected performance styles to showcase a fresh take on the topics explored in the show.
What makes Reveal All Fear Nothing interesting is that it was developed and inspired by Annie Sprinkle’s Post Porn Modernist. Sprinkle’s performance piece was first created back in 1989, it was performed regularly until 2004. In fact, Reveal All is a not quite an adaptation but is definitely inspired by Sprinkle’s performance.
Over the two-hour performance, Young brought the audience on a journey, starting from her own roots as Tina Butcher. From the birth of Madison Young, she spoke candidly about the ways that she embodied both Tina and Madison, despite the world knowing her almost exclusively as Young. There was a striking, inspiring sense of vulnerability that went into her candid in talking about the real violence that porn performers and other sex workers face—the constant struggle of dealing with sexism, homophobia, erasure, and oppression from others who don’t understand the consequences that come with the job.
And despite this, Young’s performance was still able to inspire those who were able to attend. Just as the title suggests, Young seemed to accomplish exactly what she set out to do. By the end of the show, the audience was able to understand the double meaning of the show’s title: both in giving Young the freedom to perform openly and reveal all aspects of herself with the audience, while also maintaining her autonomy and ability to reject the notion that as a public performer, she has to reveal everything to everyone.
This part of the show is one that truly resonated with me. In committing to this choice of performance, it felt like Young was sharing what inspired her to create Reveal All in the first place – seeing Sprinkle’s original Post Porn Moderninst – and pass that magic along to her audience. I think that the true magic of Reveal All is the message that the title and performance itself brings. In both watching and bringing the influence of the performance out into the real world with them, others can look forward to the magic of Reveal All in their own lives.