by Howard Sivills
Ulysses Black along with Annie Brooks and Sarah X. Delmonte performed with Howard Sivills at the Nightingale on his radical and challenging performance piece Love Musk. Using the central motif of 90s US 'coming of age' television show Dawson's Creek, and addressing issues of romanticised youth imagery within the larger American Dream, and the its debasement into Trash Culture. In a performance work that would be far more at home in the 'fine art' category, the performers assailed the audience with obscene gestures, poignant narrative, film, and coarse puppetry, creating an enigmatic and obscure comment on the romanticised veneer that covers the rancid pock-marked face of adolescence. The age of innocence is dead.
It was the express intention of Sivills that as soon as audiences arrive, his four performers should be dressed in their costumes and be present and observed in public. In one instant the four performers signified the four principle characters of Dawsons Creek: Dawson, Jen, Joey and Pacey. These four characters however were not simply lifted from the program, but were, rather, subverted and repackaged in a style emulating the aesthetic of trash-master director John Waters. The result is a set of inherently unpleasant and non-caring abusive characters; one hand a complex fusion of American teen archetypes, while on the other a pallidly simple display of 2-dimensionality in presentation of such archetypes. On stage the audience witness the debasement of the four 'teenagers' (as with Dawsons Creek the performers are much older than their characters) who are also the puppeteers of their own 2-dimensional selves.
The juvenile desecration of the american dream imagery is perhaps best expressed by one audience member "which one of you pissed in the punchbowl at the prom?"
Ulysses Black designed the poster and performed within this production
Apr 11-13 2013
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