The Gay Science (titled after Nietzsche's compilation of nihilist poetry) is a work of dance-theater exploring the malleability of self in all its uncanny, mediated, 21st-century iterations. This work embraces puppet aesthetics in order to explore these themes in an analog world of 2-D limbs.
Photographs, sketches, abstractions, and symbols representing limbs and clothing items hang on a clothing rack. Three naked performers walk onstage and begin to dress, adorning their bodies with the 2-D coverings. They are deliberately campy in their movements, exaggerating their physicalities as if they are themselves puppets. They put on ill-fitting body parts, mismatched skin colors, and genitals not like their own. Eventually, the performers find a set of photographs of their own body. As they triumphantly sink into their 2-D personhood, they perform a robot-like dance that explores the materiality of their mediated bodies—a finale of finding oneself.
Puppets and Direction by Anna Lublina
Music arranged by Lilly Kaplan
Performed by Julia Cavagna
Photos by Darius Rafieyan
April 4-6, 2019: CPR Spring Movement Festival
Photos and Video courtesy of Sinking Ship Productions