I’m very excited today because in 2 days THE DECEPTiCONS and I will be in tech rehearsal for our new and first show W*RQ! We’ve been stirring the pot since April and before and we’ve created a great first stab at understanding our identity as a group and the main thrust of our first work.
W*RQ, well, the scope and intention of this (work in progress) keeps shifting. We know it has to do with the notion of queering. We know it has to do with the notion of language and expectation. We know it has to do with performance and self-reference and comedy. We know it has to do with sound collage and noise. We know it has something to do with drag queens and clowning. We know it has something to do with glamour. I’m excited to set this beast on stage and reflect what people see, see what people reflect and continue to open, translate, replay and investigate these notions and practice.
To give a little window into our process– I as an individual decided to propose a group work for a few festivals on the west coast and in PDX. I wrote a proposal and submitted it before committing my collaborators. I didn’t have time to hash out negotiations like someone with time and money so I left my wish on a flying wishbone with wings… My main collaborator Mickey P. who is the sound engineer was available and ready from the get go. My drag sister and mythic monster Carla Rossi aka Anthony Hudson was easily woo’d into the project. Anthony had reservations with my proposed rehearsal schedule.. 3x a week for 3 hours each for 2-3 months. See, she was used to nightclub drag shows where you make your act up a few days before or bring a blender, duct tape, a demon baby on wheels and improvise! I remember her saying “really THAT long for a 20 minute piece?” As for me coming from a dance back round I think 3 hour rehearsals are a minimum to get warmed up, sink into a groove and hopefully pound out some workable material. I cast the role of the body/dancer twice… no three times. For some reason timing and availability, commitments and intentions just didn’t line up with the folks I was in conversation with for the original push of the idea. I ended up choosing Jen Hackworth who is a fierce and articulate dancer and thinker. She adds a level of inquiry and mystery to our process. She holds a special role in our quartet because she is not specifically queer identified and she is female identified. For a show that is borne from and constructed to queer the expectation of a queer performance genre (the drag show) Jens insight is invaluable. How do queens/gender performers SEE themselves if they are surrounded by mirrors? You need someone who isn’t necessarily cut from the same cloth, someone who is an ally, a collaborator and a thinker.
We are very lucky to collaborate with artist and sculptor David Eckard. He is creating for us two sculptors in which we will use in a future iteration of W*RQ.
The DECEPTiCONS are set up to be a collaboration under the direction of Kaj-anne Pepper. I’m wondering how I can set myself up to not be the director at times… for this our first show W*RQ, I planted many of the seeds of the vision, did the administration and definitely made a bulk of “decisions” but I do not hold all the keys to this castle. Each of us bring a level of autonomy, richness, technique and interest in how this scenario develops, is produces and gets set on stage. I’m excited to see how THE DECEPTiCONS exist on stage with an audience, with each other and how we prep for the next show in July, and of course what will happen after our planned show. More members? Fewer? New projects?
A big thank you to my DECEPTiCONS, Jen Hackworth, Anthony Hudson, Mickey Pollizatto.
Also a big thank you to David Eckard for the use of his welding studio and his skill and craftsmanship in creating our suspension structures for our future show.