Sunday, September 2, 2007

Girls on the Rocks

HERE Arts Center
New York, NY
August 2003

Directed by Greg Giovanni; Costumes by Gregory Nelson;
video by Nathalie Applewhite and Paul Haslett
with Michael Simmons on guitar and Lynn Major on cello

Girls on the Rocks explored my relationship to the lonely mermaid and siren—half-women/half-beasts who are outcasts, not fitting in on land or sea and longing for human companionship they can’t have. The piece was staged as a Zeigfield follies cabaret featuring an insecure mermaid in a leggy showgirl costume desperately trying to win over the audience in silence (the mermaid traded her tongue to get legs); and a smoky torch singer siren with an ostrich feather fan brooding over the loss of Ulysses, the one that got away.

Throughout the piece, I played with ways I seduce an audience with my voice—singing a coquettish duet with myself on video; imitating the terrifying wail of an air raid siren (the modern vestige of the mythological siren); and performing a lush, mournful lament.

top photo: Adam Wallacavage
bottom 3 photos: Jim Rose