My Polar Disorder by Irreverent Sideshows A stage performance created and directed by Anna Frisch Performed by Laura Bradshaw, music written and performed by Chris Teckkam and Toby Jenkins
This should be allowed, this is not entertainment for kids, this is close to scandalous, this is innocence with a twist and a kick in the eye, this is tongue in cheek, this is not Disneyland, this is real, this is raw, this is satyr and polemic, this is not a euphemism, this is not immoral, this is better than David Lynch, this is rock and pop in one hot **** dog, and eat your dummies Mr McCarthy, and swallow your floppy bunny Mrs Lucas, and who said pole dancing was a disgrace, and who said Mickey was a boy?
On the stage, a pet hero, saviour of our childhood dreams is not what it once appeared to be. Borders are crushed in an instant, illusions are shattered in one thrust of a hip, but then, who was this big eared four finger dude anyway? We have seen how Pop art lifted these cartoon characters from the safety of the bedside table and the family hour TV shows, enabling a conceptual transgression to operate through the re-manipulation of these contemporary symbols, either wise used by agents of the state, as sugar baits, filled with innuendos, for social consumption. Every cartoon character can turn into a designer celebrity as equally as celebrities can turn into rubber heroes. We are surrounded by them. Disney had a plan. He thought heaven on Earth yes, but as a subliminal propaganda tool directed at below 16, prior the age of consent. How to educate the masses at the root….Dingo, Mini, Donald duck, Mickey Mouse…something like second life was burgeoning in the animation studios of the maestro. We are society. We demand indoctrination. We learn happily how to behave according to the code. What the code asserts is simple. Play it as we like it. But ‘we’ is not always ‘us’.
Some things are acceptable, they are what makes the world go round, and round…in circles without ever getting anywhere. Women are attached to the pole, not the May pole, that’s a men only club. They dance around the pole and milk the universe. They keep their breeches on, they do not shine the moon at a lascivious audience, they do not strip or bend over for a wanker to slip a small note between their breasts, even if some of them hide the equivalent in their bulging shirts. This funny creepy Mickey, better than just plain creepy, on the stage is a woman, but not like any other. She is not Jessica Rabbit or Betty Boop, she is not Bionic Woman, she is not even Joan of Arc. And we know Joan was also tied to a pole to be burnt, a necessary sacrifice from which she emerged as a saint, no longer of course a female in the flesh. This one though is a nightmare on beautiful legs, a psychological catastrophe digging a hole in the back of our mind. She will not be sacrificed, she is the interrogator. Her head is oversized, like Elephant man, and she is mute. But her distorted body speaks, it reflects the squalid fantasies of a public that refuses to remain passive, each eye a perpetrator, an invader, an insinuator. She embodies every thought that lurks back there, in the dark while she gesticulates sometimes gracefully around the phallic emblem, as if in a state of ecstatic adulation, in the scorching spotlight. What is already a caricature of sexuality is carried to its extreme, to a point at which even Clockwork Orange Alex would beg to abstain. Her voice is not missing; she is not as mute as we may wish her to be after all. Like Diamanda Gallas, her scream is filling our heads until we want to break our teeth on a steel rod. It is electric. She denies the crudity of violence in the soft curves of her motion as the guitars throw up a visceral crescendo. The sonic angles beat the air that surrounds her and sometimes, she hits back. That sound surges from the guts of Lilith, it does not let us off, it begins with her and ends with her. It is like an insidious knife turning in the wound. She seems encaged by this frenzy. But it is her anger, the fury carried silently by centuries of women. It sounds like someone is playing with a set of internal organs that have been stretched out of a living corpse. They pluck the womb of a female god.
She is wearing red high heels, goofy white gloves, red hot pants, too hot for Mickey, but she looks the part, dinky furry thing, full on seducer before an adulating crowd, in full control of the stage, of the musicians who like Orpheus have entered Hades to charm the serpents, and had hoped to have their eye lids sewn not to be tempted. She shines in the red spotlight with a killer smile. Too late, the game is out, she removes an item of clothing, then another, first, the white gloves. Then, the black jacket and the red shorts, the height of a fashion all cartoon Mice would die for if Pneuma had animated their limbs, fall inert at her feet. She strips to the skin, the blackness of the character’s asexual body crowned by scarlet g-strings, the matrix of cartoon Inferno, is revealed like a form of deceit. Her body is like a void; the black velvet leotard covers her in universal anonymity. A humanoid with the features of a famous rodent invites us to believe in a fantasy turned burlesque. The g-strings snap off, she pulled them off and we see nothing. What stands before us is a masterly subterfuge, all senses have been censored, a black out in the anti flesh of a myth. After what seemed like an eternity of one and a half minute, she moves straight into 4th gear. Only then does she break away from the 3 dimensional cartoon of her unsuspecting host. She takes the pole.
None of the American pet ‘heroes’ like Bugs Bunny, Supermouse, Underdog, Mickey Mouse and his pals or even Chilly Willy would transport or transform the thinking animal, but they were instrumental in the remodelling of the nascent contemporary imagination… as virtual tools remodel ancient design into ergonomic holograms. The naked mouse, the unidentified flashing object in the back of the 20th century mind, gets cracking, and the female hidden within destroys any hope of Hollywood redemption, unequivocally provocative in the safety of fake innocence.
Some say ‘woman’ was invented by men. Women too invent the ideal man. Perhaps the perfect being had to be challenged, and nature convened one night to snip the arm of one X and leave the others intact. War and love were thus borne out of a primeval Chromosome imperfection. Nevertheless, there were three XXXs, and the last remains the element of surprise. It is where art is conceived. It is where “my Polar Disorder” rises like a terrible phoenix. I think of Salome, of Hecate, of Medea, of woman scorned and betrayed, but also of a power to destroy beyond military carnage. An apocalypse of emotional proportion without a word.
Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2014
Duration of the show: less than 10 minutes