How to Write a Piece Description with Mica Sigourney

How to Write a Piece Description with Mica Sigourney

Leaked Email Thread:

Justin Ebrahemi <justin@counterpulse.org>
Mon, Mar 15, 3:07 PM
to Mica Sigourney, Silk
Worm

Hi Mica and Silk, I loved the Insta takeover on Sat! I just wanted to follow up in hopes you could provide more info on Colossus and I will draft a work description and press release. Can’t believe we’re a month away!

CounterPulse will go quietly public about the work being at ██████ ████ ████(on ticketing pages and the PR). This is so we don’t draw too much attention to the outdoor site, but just enough to garner press and build public hype. 

Best,

Justin Ebrahemi
Director of Communications & Advancement

Mica Sigourney <horseface@gmail.com>
Wed, Mar 17, 10:30 PM 
to me, Silk

Thanks Justin!
I’ve been trying to figure out what to say, but have been struggling- could you maybe give me some prompts? I think my brain is a bit friend from grant writing tbh.
Warmly,

– Mica

Justin <justin@counterpulse.org>
Thu, Mar 18, 10:28 AM
to Mica, Silk

Yeah, I feel that with the grantspeak.

Here’s one question that could help me get started: What was the inspiration of this work?

Thanks!
– Justin

Mica <horseface@gmail.com>
Thu, Mar 18, 12:43 PM 
to me, Silk

Justin 
Great question.

Like most performers I have been bereft this past year as we have moved many of our projects online. I had just begun work on a piece called Gladiator with Silk Worm that was exploring queer kin making through performance. The audience was going to be in the round, the show was going to be a party. I was into exploring and expanding a phenomena specific to nightlife and cabaret and drag shows: at drag shows the audience is deeply part of the show and the performers are usually deeply part of the audience. So proximity to the audience was crucial.

Silk and I tried to work on Zoom, but these concepts were not translatable to a flat screen.
We abandoned the work and I turned to other creative projects. I finished a long project of reading Ulysses by James Joyce during which I would read 20 pages everyday and then write  for an hour- through the course of the book. Working on the Ulysses project returned me to notions of the Epic, and epicness which I’d previously work on  in aon mhac tíre nó roinnt mic tíre with Ruairí O Donnabháin

In Ulysses Leopold Bloom travels through Dublin over the course of one day. The journey, what if the show I make actually journeys through our city? A garbagey two person roving show. Yuck, but yeah I followed the thread.

In the end I moved the work to a site in ██████ ████ ████ so there would be more control over safety protocols than the street, but SF is the third character in this show, with googoo and deedee (that’s their names).


Mica

Justin <justin@counterpulse.org>
Fri, Mar 19, 2:35 PM
to Mica, Silk

Hey Mica, thanks for the context of the work and your process through the past year. I think what’s missing is the audience experience for Colossus. Can you share some thoughts and I could begin drafting a piece description?

– Justin

Mica <horseface@gmail.com>
Fri, Mar 19, 3:42 PM
to me, Silk

Well, no.

My friend Mary Vice told me there is a saying in burlesque – the first reveal is when you walk on stage.. So like, I’m not gonna take my top off for you for the press release, when you haven’t even seen my dress.

As you know I often play with expectation, as well as framing, which feels like a feasible task in a dark room with a spot light and a microphone but doing a work outside -we have to compete with trees and dogs barking, and Colossus isn’t about dogs barking, not on purpose. But we might have no choice. Dogs gonna bark. Isn’t there a saying in theater- never work with animals or children? You’re always upstaged, that’s how I feel performing on the street.  

I would say what the audience should expect is “you arrive at the destination, and something happens, it might be just a day at ████ ████ with dogs barking”

I encourage the audience to arrive drunk or high or horny- but not too much of any

Warmly,
Mica

Justin <justin@counterpulse.org>
Fri, Mar 19, 4:15 PM
to Mica, Silk

Haha. Wow, that’s super helpful and makes me want to experience the work. Are there any themes you’re exploring?

Best,
Justin

Mica <horseface@gmail.com>
Fri, Mar 19, 6:02 PM 
to me, Silk

SEX AND DRUGS. And ██████ 

There’s sex and drugs in the show. that counts right? well sort of in the show.

I’ve begun saying ” this is a show for people who do ketamine,” much of it was conceived of during or in response to ketamine assisted therapy I have been doing-which lands it in dangerous proximity to psychedelic art- not a territory i thought i’d ever find myself in, i’m more in the alcoholic art camp. The show is more abstract compared to my other work. It feels personally riskier- it’s less intellectually composed and more intuitively composed- less controlled- more uneven, jumpy.

We wear fake noses and ears.

I love our costumes. Maryam Rostami, the stylist, created the look of the show’s characters. She has an impeccable eye, the costumes she chose co-create the reality of the show. She honed in on the themes and characters. It’s almost like she’s making our bodies.

I was thinking of just doing a video. 

The live performance aspect comes from where I live, in SOMA. There’s a person who has a giant usb speaker strapped to their bike, and they park outside my apartment at night and does karaoke or just plays loud music- that’s what inspired me to attempt an outdoor performance during the pandemic. This person was going around with their speaker bringing joy, being loud and inhabiting the public space, the city block – pandemic or not. It made me want to do that too. It’s a little cheesy.

Mica

Justin <justin@counterpulse.org>
Mon, Mar 22, 10:28 AM 
to Mica, Silk

Outdoor activation! Love it – Such a classic performance art trope and yet so timely and ingeniously conceived in this work. I’m almost done putting together a work description. Do you and Silk embody anyone or anything?

Thanks,
Justin

Mica <horseface@gmail.com>
Mon, Mar 22, 12:20 PM 
to me, Silk

deedee and googoo.
We are rakish scamps.
We are noonday monsters in designer sneakers.
Cracked Earth.
We are lurkers.
We are your best friend’s best haircut.
Tiny plastic bags.
We are an empty middle seat perfect for your trail mix on a flight to denver.
████ ████.

“classic performance art trope”- you calling me cliche?

X

Justin <justin@counterpulse.org>
Mon, Mar 22, 2:22 PM 
to Mica, Silk

No omg of course not! I’m not calling you cliche. It’s just somehow…nostalgic. I don’t get it but I’m def vibing with the abstract-ness

I think we should connect this more to reality, or your version of reality when audiences experience the work at ██████ ████ ████

 Can you give me some in this reality based simple language to use?

– Justin

Mica <horseface@gmail.com>
Mon, Mar 22, 5:13 PM
to me, Silk

Hey Justin- don’t you have enough to work with? Don’t we do the interviews when/if we get press? Shouldn’t we wait for press to ask all these questions? ████ ████ ████████ ███████ ████? 

Look, it’s pretty personal. Maybe this part doesn’t go in. But I’m curious what happens to my choreography and drag when I don’t have lights and sound systems and marly?? Do I become a traveling poet? Do I carry my set on my back? What happens to  performance that is not meant for outside but simply has to be outside? I do not come from a practice or lineage of public or street performance, so to me outdoor performance is novel and unexplored, though for many it is a regular part of their practice/artmaking/moneymaking. 

I’m lying.
I’m being DRAMATIC. 
I have worked NOT-IN-THEATERS, I lip-synced in the elevator of YBCA for an hour with Maryam Rostami, I lip synced in a gallery window for five hours. I performed in a park last year (2019) with a stage show that was designed for a theater. So i’m being dramatic.

When the shelter in place started I said “I will NOT make a work for a park or beach”
and now I am, that feels like “the complete and final destruction of the world” as I know and understand it. Apocalyptic art. I’m joking. kinda.

The audience will experience:

minotaurs centaurs cyclops orpheus madea jaguar troy remus condor maenads titans venus pothos hawk demeter stallions scorpion shewolf aeneas adonis athena satyr COLOSSUS bison odysseus python sparta shark olympus monstera horses atrius eagles hera vulcan crocodiles cyprus helen tiger zeus oxen hades hercules heracles gorgons perseus orangutans achilles apollo zeus perseus bacchus gorilla cracken pallas

the world we are building is one of loss- but that’s too simple. Colossus is one piece of the architecture of a great expectation but without any of the other pieces. It’s vestigial.
it’s a suggestion that maybe at ██████ ████ ████, this grass these trees are JUST the setting for a play on a sunday afternoon And not the real world.

Smugly
Mica

Justin <justin@counterpulse.org>
Tue, Mar 23, 10:10 AM 
to Mica, Silk

Wow. That’s…a lot.

Sorry for the back and forth, just want to make sure I have enough to work with to capture the press’ attention – the PR’s don’t always get opened or read. ████████!

Last question: Why the title colossus, what does that mean?

Thanks,
Justin

Mica <horseface@gmail.com>
Tue, Mar 23, 4:40 PM
to me, Silk

There’s two answers to that one is this poem

The Colossus
By Sylvia Plath

I shall never get you put together entirely,
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.
Mule-bray, pig-grunt and bawdy cackles
Proceed from your great lips.
It’s worse than a barnyard.
 
Perhaps you consider yourself an oracle,
Mouthpiece of the dead, or of some god or other.
Thirty years now I have labored
To dredge the silt from your throat.
I am none the wiser.
 
Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails of lysol
I crawl like an ant in mourning
Over the weedy acres of your brow
To mend the immense skull plates and clear
The bald, white tumuli of your eyes.
 
A blue sky out of the Oresteia
Arches above us. O father, all by yourself
You are pithy and historical as the Roman Forum.
I open my lunch on a hill of black cypress.
Your fluted bones and acanthine hair are littered
 
In their old anarchy to the horizon-line.
It would take more than a lightning-stroke
To create such a ruin.
Nights, I squat in the cornucopia
Of your left ear, out of the wind,
 
Counting the red stars and those of plum-color.
The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue.
My hours are married to shadow.
No longer do I listen for the scrape of a keel
On the blank stones of the landing.

The other answer is Colossus is a placeholder for something large epic in scope, stunning and awe-full, but a placeholder. Like at the oscars they have seat fillers for when the celebs go do coke in the bathroom, like that for something huge, something too big. Oh and it’s a joke about masculinity.

Justin, you’re burning through my time and we need to go live asap.

do you have a piece description yet? 

X

Mica Sigourney & Silk Worm
Colossus
Sat & Sun, April 24-25, 2021
Sat 5pm, Sun 1PM & 5PM

at ██████ ████ ████

Get tickets >>

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