on est deshabille, a comedy about death
Solo Performance Theater, created, written and performed by Eliza Ladd
In development: 2010 Field EAR Residency, performance at Joyce Soho; 2011 United Solo Theatre Festival, Performance at Theatre Row; 2012 Performance Mix Festival at Joyce Soho and Dixon Place
Fragile and ferocious, in this feast of human spirit we join a woman and her stick — part warrior part creature part housewife — on an absurd adventure that thrives in the territory and composition of language, sound and body. Born out of Rock–and-Roll and teetering toward Clown, the subjects of this Solo Performance Theater include violence, addiction, loneliness, identity, hope, time and the deterioration of the body. The Performance somehow spawns utter delight.
She begins, “Isn’t it wonderfully strange how we follow in each other’s footsteps, one right after the other? Isn’t it absolutely magnificent how we sail ourselves away?”
When emotional wilderness meets stage presence, timing meets music, and sounds meet vibration, then you meet Eliza: sparkling theatricality.
Giovanni Fusetti, Master Clown
Ladd, who channels a galumphy woman carrying a big stick, draped in tragic Frederick’s of Hollywood bargain bin and knee pads down to high-heeled slippers with marabou poofs, steals my heart.
Chris Dohse, know your own bone
Eliza Ladd kept me on the edge of my seat as she shifted from being a shaman to a Brooklyn kvetch to a crooner belting out a raw song from the depths. The miracle is that it all fit together like a gourmet meal.
Karen Bernard, New Dance Alliance
In a tale communicated through movement, song, original language and deep play with object, this performance cultivates communion and connection — between actor and audience — and invites an inclusive energy of irreverence and joy. In a variety of voices – particular characters that find their point of view through physical relationship to the 7 foot stick – Eliza lures us in to a discussion about our Plight (human condition) – both specific and universal. In her expression of Harry, Needle Hang, Gorilla Geisha, and Rat Cleaner, to name a few, particular details of human suffering illuminate a broader and more epic contemplation of the human condition and point to our species and purpose as a whole. In this sometimes absurd, sometimes grotesque, and sometimes potent, poetic and poignant performance we hear and see a story that is deadly serious even as it casts an atmosphere of irreverence, acceptance, frailty and love.
In a uniquely contemporary style, Eliza Ladd brings agency to the ancient meeting ground of the theater by summoning the elements of a whole human being – this is Absurd Clown Shaman Entertainment.
She sings: “What kind of world did you think we were living in? Making up a system just so we could fill it in?” and, “Where are we going? What are we finding? Who do we think we are?”
Questions I am asking in this performance process:
How to write from immediate physical condition?
How does character/experience (text) emerge from (specific and literal) physical condition? What language or meaning emerges from a vertical and or a horizontal relationship to and experience of ‘reality’? Where is the Clown in this?
How to trust the stick and the moment – as a writer and a performer?
What is the relationship between the individual and the universal? I am amazed at how the more specific and grotesque and detailed I get, the more expansive and wide open the subject becomes – what can I glean from this in terms of how to connect to my audience and create relationships?
What is the relationship between sound and language and meaning and how is this playing out in the relationship between the stick, the space, the audience, and me?
How do I locate myself – literally, In time? In space? In a certain job — as a stick spinner or a stick rower – these are the absurd ‘jobs’ / ‘identities’ I come upon. This performance process enters a discussion on this subject of Who Am I in tangible, literal, absurd and poetic ways.
She asks: “We’re all walking around with a head a dead hair Harry, a head a dead, that’s what I said, one step ahead. Here we are livin’ on the edge, what are we gonna do? What are we gonna do?”