So, I have been busy, but I thought I would share my director’s statement with you for Dollhouse Monsters. If you don’t have your tickets yet, maybe it will encourage you to get tickets. If you do have your tickets, then Yay! I will see you soon at the show!
I am so excited to have you come to this intimate show. And I don’t just mean the space (although I do love the atmosphere in Stage Left). While all burlesque shows invite you in to a level of intimacy that may make you a little “hot” or may just make you uncomfortable, this show layers in some mental and emotional intimacy on top of the physical intimacy typically associated with stripping. This show is particularly intimate because it offers biographical moments from each of our main characters, Dee O’s Mio, Lady Malavendra, and Red Velvet. The show isn’t a treatise of our lives and it is not going to be the topic of the next Ken Burns (or anyone else’s) documentary, but it does offer some intimate and some over-the-top moments that have helped shape who we are as performers and as people. The solo acts in this show are a distillation and expression of some of those most vulnerable and, conversely, most powerful, moments. This show is a meandering journey, not through the countryside or the woods, or even the streets of San Francisco, but through our hearts, and our minds, and even creeping a little bit into (shall I dare say it) our pussies.
This show is the co-creation of Dee O’s Mio, Lady Malavendra, and Red Velvet, assisted along by the gentle questions, proddings, and insights of our writer, Eric Pape. As our writer, he observed us and distilled our emotional content into the most salient words and stories – a little different for each of us. He delved out commonalities and differences. Sometimes, he brought out stories that were so buried we hadn’t even realized that they were formative stories. Other times he gave us back our humor in scenes and scenarios we didn’t think were funny at the time.
As burlesque performers, and, really, every day as human beings, we are so used to putting on a persona, to letting people see the façade we wish you to see. But in this show, I believe we have cracked that shell. You may not be able to see our entire vulnerable insides, because we can’t even see that ourselves. But, we have opened ourselves up, seen parts of ourselves we never admitted to anyone else, and let you into some of our most vulnerable moments. Can you see us now?
This is the fifth theatrical/burlesque show I have co-created. With just over ten years of burlesque performing, and in my fiftieth year of living, it should be getting easier. And some of it is. And then there is the rest of it… Taking on the responsibilities of a show of this magnitude is exciting, invigorating, and exhausting all at the same time. Every time I work on a theatrical burlesque show I worry that I won’t be able to create something as interesting, that I have lost my creative talent, that I don’t have what it takes. It helps working with a great theater and a supportive cast who is willing to work with you, try new things, and be vulnerable on stage. A big thanks to The EXIT Theatre, particularly Christina Augello and Amanda Ortmayer who may have pushed a little, but also totally supported, the first burlesque/theatre show, Rebel Without A Bra. They have continued to be supportive, although less pushing is now required. I also appreciate each one of my Velvettes. They came to me to dance and I have made them into dancers, stage hands, prop assistants, dressers, various small parts, disembodied voices, singers, and monsters. They are critical and appreciated. And thanks to Beth Cockrell and Amanda Ortmayer who do the parts that I really can’t do, like lighting design and stage set design. I do a lot of shit. But I can’t do it all, and I can’t do any of it without all the amazing people behind this production… And an audience. Thank you, too!