“ Simply put, longing for the love of another is more so longing for the love of yourself, and when you can find that love, is when the mask can finally come off”
– Closing speech of Whoa-Man!
Four female clowns with three-foot tall iPhones looking for love. Twin shape-shifting male dream messengers entwined in flirtatious dances. A foray into the alchemical marriage: a transformation from lead into gold, animal to god. These are some of the ingredients in my company’s ( Fou Fou Ha!) latest theater show, which I created along with the stellar cast members Jasper Patterson, Allegra Misonznick-Davidson, Amelia Van Brunt, Janelle La Riza, Courtney Cavagnero, Dyon Lain, Bobby Bryce, Karena Weil, Lucas Reshi and Ben Baker.
What is Fou Fou Ha? We are tricksters. Modern-day glam jesters that satirize the human condition for the sake of challenging conventions. We are gender-blending performers, playing with constructs around male and female social roles. We follow in the footsteps of the Cockettes, Bob Fosse, Peaches, South Park and neo-vaudevillian theater. Our aim is to inspire the importance of the fool in society, and how much leverage one has outside of the norm.
I created FFH in 2001 after a year in Holland studying dance theater. I was inspired by European street theater, buffoonery, transformative theater and audience interaction. So I took my 15 years of ballet, musical theater, jazz, hip-hop and drama roots and created a dance troupe of character performers with a Euro cirque feel, mixed with a dash of club-kid aesthetics and a cartoon sensibility. I wanted to have slapstick dance styles mixed with Fosse flair all performed by physical character performers to bring in the individual aspect.
After many years of performances throughout the West coast and 3 full-length shows, I was interested in creating a show that focuses on the ubiquitous human journey from the false to the authentic, from the mask to the real. I was inspired by the current online-dating-profile mask and the way in which we carefully create well-groomed personae to represent ourselves, and how challenging it is to show what’s underneath: a fallible, authentic self. Authentic in that there are flaws, not perfect, but beautiful. We are truly beautiful in our imperfection.
I decided a plot that would focus on 4 female archetypes- the power bitch, the sex object, the perfect Barbie girl, and the outcast. I was interested in how each one creates these personae in order to find connection or status, and eventually realizes that through dropping the game and turning toward community, they would find the love they were seeking.
I was also interested in the male energy, the animus that the women would be grappling with. Within each of us lie the masculine and the feminine, or as Carl Jung named them, the animus and the anima. These come to us in dreams with self-realizations about our differing self states. I aimed at celebrating the masculine as our allies, as aspects within us. Why not have the men rescue the women from being shamed and act as protectors of the sacred feminine?
Clown-feminism, social construct lobotomies, sexy boys dancing, and beautiful women revealing their hearts. Whoa, Man. If you’ve ever felt like you want to wear a mask to find love, come let some clowns with oversized iPhones see how beautiful we can be when we show our flawed, human selves.
Please join us…
Whoa, Man! by Fou Fou Ha!
Shelton Theater 533 Sutter St.
Every Friday and Saturday in October and November 2015
More info at www.foufouha.net