Credit: Stacie Joy

Twanna Hines‘ latest Capital Fringe show holds nothing back. The Silver Spring-based performer, entrepreneur, and sex educator is bringing We’re All Going to Fucking Die!, her one-woman show about letting go of anxiety and seeking joy and passion, to Arena Stage for five shows. (The first one begins at 5:30 p.m. on July 9.) Hines spoke to City Paper about what audiences can expect from the show and how to find joy and be yourself during these trying times.

WCP: How would you describe this show?

Twanna Hines: I would describe this as a comedic one-woman storytelling show: me, a microphone, and possibly a photo of my cat. I have two kitties, one is named Catsby, the Great Catsby, and then the other is named Fitzgerald.

WCP: What can people expect from your performances?

TH: They can expect, at some point, if not during the entirety of the 75 minutes, it is OK to let it go. Whatever stress they’re carrying, whatever they’re worried about, to really let it go and listen to what we’re talking about when it comes to bringing joy and pleasure into our lives. This can be the balm on the wounds of people who are experiencing a lot of sadness and stress right now. We’re not just talking about joy. I’ve worked hard to line up sponsors so that we can actually give out free sex toys and gift certificates for wonderful little pleasure-bringing things. We’ll be handing out all kinds of amazing stuff—giving people things to really add joy to their lives in a very tangible sense. We can expect sex education on the stage, and I think the audience should be prepared for a deeper conversation about joy. We’re actually going to talk about the neuroscience behind it: What does it mean to bring pleasure into our lives?

WCP: So this is a show about joy and pleasure, and you chose to call it We’re All Going to Fucking Die!

TH: That’s what I love about it. I wanted people to think “I could come to this and laugh.” And, usually when I tell people the title, that is what they do.

WCP: In doing this show, you have to be boldly yourself and vulnerable. How have you figured that out?

TH: As I’ve matured over time—because aging and maturing aren’t the same thing—I would say I’ve learned to trust myself more. I think when I was younger, I had the sense that everyone else got this manual, somehow, that there was a manual for how to be pretty, for what a family should look like. I always felt like the awkward kind of quirky person who wasn’t measuring up. So I always questioned myself: If people liked something that I didn’t, I would wonder why I didn’t like it instead of just being like “I don’t like it.” I felt not so secure about who I was as a person. As I’ve matured, I’ve grown to not only trust my central truth and be comfortable, but I’ve also got more empathy for myself. I had a friend tell me once, “You would never allow anyone else to treat you the way that you treat yourself, or to say things to you that you say to yourself.”

WCP: How do you stand out among other shows with joy as a premise?

TH: Something that makes the show uniquely special to me is that it is social impact entertainment. It’s entertainment but it’s entertaining for the purpose of some social impact. What I want people to do is come into that theater and for those 75 minutes really let go of the frustration, the fears, and all of these emotions they’ve been feeling. Embracing joy and caring for ourselves really prepares us to be better humans. It’s a solo show, it’s a one-woman show, and did you know that only 3.4 percent of shows on American stages are written by women of color? I’m excited to be out there doing my thing.

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