A night of gender interpretation at Art Matters  

By Russ Cooper

Since March 1, this year痴 Art Matters festival has continued at the same passionate pace set by its first edition ten years ago; unabashedly non-stop.

The show Fists and Fables: An Evening of Animated Objects, March 10 at Sala Rossa on St. Laurent Blvd. was no different, featuring a handful of acts with interesting perspectives on gender.

Bekky O誰eil (right) and Max Kelly perform their toy theatre piece <em>Being the Enthralling Story of Herculine Barbarin</em>, exploring the tale of a 19th-century hermaphrodite. Magnifying glass

Bekky O誰eil (right) and Max Kelly perform their toy theatre piece Being the Enthralling Story of Herculine Barbarin, exploring the tale of a 19th-century hermaphrodite.

The toy theatre production from Bekky O誰eil was a condensed interpretation of Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite, the true story/memoirs of Adelade Herculine Barbin, born and raised as female who later became male, dying as Abel Barbin.
O誰eil, who graduated last semester with major in playwriting, and friends Max Kelly and Jesse Orr illustrated the tale using four- to seven-inch paper cutouts on a small table-top stage as, 鍍oy theatre is able to tell the grandest of tales on the smallest of scales, O誰eil said, quoting an industry saying.

典he story didn稚 need to be told in my words or with actors, said O誰eil of the tale she became fascinated with as a student in English professor Bina Freiwald痴 ENGL 393/2 Gender and Sexuality in Literary Studies last fall. 的 feel that especially when you池e dealing with issues of gender and trans and intersex, you don稚 want to step on people痴 toes. It痴 not a matter of being politically correct, it痴 about being honest and truthful to the story.

O誰eil credits the festival as an accessible avenue to try new things.

Elgin-Skye McLaren (right) and Vince Hopkins gave the Sala Rossa痴 capacity crowd numerous performances from the side stage to keep the crowd entertained as production crews set up the following act. Magnifying glass

Elgin-Skye McLaren (right) and Vince Hopkins gave the Sala Rossa痴 capacity crowd numerous performances from the side stage to keep the crowd entertained as production crews set up the following act.

典he opportunity to include [this story] in Art Matters presented itself, and I thought why not write a script, make some puppets and see what happens, she said. 的 think that at Concordia, we池e blessed with having people who are open and accepting and willing to listen to somewhat unconventional stories.

The night痴 final act, Dances of Domesticity by the The Iron Maidens, put an unconventional twist on the ordinary. Their object performance was a lively foray into exploring the clothes iron and its symbolism an act that had four 50s-esque women using the iron to smooth the clothes they were wearing and to attack each other.

的t痴 about the culture of femininity and how we池e taught the social rules at a very early age, but also how we teach ourselves, said theatre and development major Leah Silverberg, one of the four maidens.

She and theatre and development majors Rhea Nelkan and Hannah Morrow, and theatre and music double major Sarah Albu developed the idea for the show after Albu noticed a Plateau. window display showing a male mannequin holding an iron and simultaneously holding down a female mannequin reclining provocatively in a chair.

The Iron Maidens punish, preen and clean during <em>Dances of Domesticity</em>, the evening痴 final performance. Magnifying glass

The Iron Maidens punish, preen and clean during Dances of Domesticity, the evening痴 final performance.

溺y first reaction was, 奏hat痴 ridiculous. But then I started thinking about the iron as a symbol of domestic duty and also as a weapon, said Albu.

Silverberg states the troupe attempts to represent, 殿 juxtaposition to show how undetectable and nebulous the ways in which we oppress each other are, said Silverberg.

鄭 lot of different emotions come out from the four of us in different ways, but all the emotions come from an honest place of dealing and grappling with these questions, said Morrow. 的f people can recognize these emotions in themselves, then that痴 what we want.

Art Matters continues until March 19. The closing party will be held the last day at the Eastern Bloc (7240 Clark) with Un Band, DJ Set-Power of Dreams, as well as special secret guests. Free, 9 p.m.

 

Concordia University