Review: FRIGID NY Festival 2022: Together We Can Live with the Sadness: Clegg’s "The Lonely Road" Leaves You Lonely, But I Think That’s the Point
The Lonely Road
Stories and photography by Will Clegg
Directed by David Crabb
Presented at The Kraine Theater
85 E 4th St., Manhattan, NYC
February 18-March 6, 2022
|Photo by Will Clegg|
The Lonely Road leans into this tradition of the road-romance as a response to an emotional juggernaut as Will Clegg, just off a breakup with his college girlfriend and with few to no job prospects post-9/11, but with a passion for photography inspired by Gary Winogrand’s (1928-84) well-known images of the American West, heads out on the open road to photograph White Sands, NM—the site of Winogrand’s most famous image. The show does not back down from placing itself within the road-trip tradition. Even before the performance begins, as audience members are shuffling in, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” plays. Subtle, yes, I know.
|Gary Winogrand’s “White Sands National Monument,” 1964, The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco|
The show features Clegg standing alone, camera at his side, on stage with a large screen behind him that features his images taken on the trip as he narrates his story that takes him from experiencing 9/11 while in college in Manhattan, cheating on his girlfriend with a woman in Italy during study abroad (I am hoping both women gave permission for these stories and images to be shared), the deaths of his two grandfathers, deciding to take to the road to follow in his photographer hero’s steps, experiencing the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans, getting drunk with George W. Bush donors in Texas, and feeling out of place at a B-list Hollywood party.
|Will Clegg. Photo by Justin Rivenbark|
How and why Clegg can go on this road trip, see the amazing cities and landscapes of North America, meet incredibly interesting people, and still want to come back to NYC and chase his girlfriend, I’ll never get. I have already said that that part of the narrative was not my way in. My way in was the growth that getting out of your current rut through travel provides and then coming back and being able to see your situation with new eyes. It takes Clegg a little while for Clegg’s new eyes to focus, but this performance is proof that they finally did years later. He certainly did not inspire me to get behind the wheel of a car anytime soon (I’ll take the train, thank you), but he does make a case for just getting the hell out and remembering just how big the world is and how transformational unfamiliar places and the people who live in them can be. Sometimes you just must let go. “Tramps” like Clegg and me were certainly born to run.
-Joseph L. V. Donica
More FRIGID 2022 Reviews:
And Toto Too
And Toto Too
All shows are available in-person or via livestreaming.