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Red Ink

Cecilia Gentili is an atheist but in Gentili's new solo show, Red Ink, she explores the times she flirted with faith throughout her life. Each story begins with "I'm an atheist but…" followed by a different caveat, leading to a new tale from her life.

Gentili is an expert storyteller-- at home on the stage. She is in touch with the room from the moment she enters and can read the audience's energy to adjust jokes and stories accordingly. She addresses the crowd directly and ensures everyone feels seen and included in the experience. Gentili's comedic timing and clever joke writing made for a show where every single joke landed, many with loud, sustained laughter from the crowd.

Shortly into the performance, I realized I knew some of these stories from somewhere. Afterward, I looked it up and realized I had read her book some months back. I found that even with this prior knowledge, I never felt bored. Instead, Gentili breathed new life into every antidote. I enjoyed the live retellings and the new material alike. I am impressed by Gentili's ability to captivate her audience from start to finish in a solo show with a series of loosely related stories.

The art direction by Oscar Diaz suggests thoughtful nods to themes and motifs in the show. The stage sports two red beaded curtains and a large red rug, calling back to the show's title. The projections were designed by renowned drag queen Sasha Velour, who is known for utilizing projections in many of her performances. Velour's design capitalizes on photos of young Cecilia Gentili, many times showcasing what the performer looked like at the time of the stories told. The projection design, both touching and comedic, furthers the stories with engaging visuals that inform the setting and timeline.

Much of Gentili's professional work and stories within the show surround the idea of community. She masterfully created that very thing in the theater; every audience member was in community with her for the duration of the show. She also makes a point to uplift the lives of trans people and sex workers (two identities she has lived experience with). She uses her voice and experiences to sow the seeds of empathy, compassion and support in the public.

Red Ink is hilarious, evocative and unique. Gentili truly is a powerhouse in the realm of solo performance and not one to miss.

"Red Ink"

Written and performed by Cecilia Gentili

Directed by Nic Cory

November 27-December 1, 2023

Rattlestick Theater (224 Waverly Place, NYC)


Carmen! is a trans-multimedia artist specializing in playwriting, acting and crochet. Originally from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, they are currently based in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, returning to their Atlantic Oceanic roots. Their play Taking the Plunge has been performed at the Tank and the Chain off-Broadway and in the 2023 Fresh Fruit Festival slated this June. Carmen has also worked in front-of-house and technical positions for prominent theater organizations including New Dramatists, Portland Playhouse, Emursive and Future Proof. Carmen’s mission is to use play to create meaningful representation by and for underrepresented communities. For more information on Carmen! Follow them on socials @carmenacetosociety or check out


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