title: the sitter –and she starts to comb no name’s hair

year: 2016 (work in progress)

location: fonderie darling, montréal, québec

duration: variable

performed by:  danielle berthiaume and john thomas, as part of filiations – série de performances | karen elaine spencer + jean-sébastien vague.

for my performance at the darling founderie i commissioned two actors, john thomas and danielle berthiaume, who were given the transcript and audio (see below) to then interpret as they saw fit.

_DSC7007_PhotoGuyLHeureux copyphoto by guy l’heureux

transcript: and she starts to comb no-name’s hair

you see her, at the far end of the park, there is no-one else around, she is tiny, stooped, she is wearing a pale pink cardigan. or maybe it was blue, i don’t remember.

she has a purse and she is holding it in the crook of her arm
she is cutting a diagonal across the park in slow unsteady steps. as she gets closer you notice that her cheeks are powdered peach, and her lips cherry red.

just when you think she is going to sit on the bench next to you, she veers and heads towards no-names bench, puts her purse down beside his two plaid bags, opens it and takes out the most ridiculous purple plastic comb.

and she starts to comb no-name’s hair

one hand holds the comb, and the other hand smooths the hair down.

first she does the top.

then the sides.

then the back.

when she is finished she puts the comb back in her purse and she takes her hand and she cups it on no-names cheek and just under his chin, and she leans in a bit, she smiles and she says, “there; now you are handsome, again.”

she puts the purse back in the crook of her arm, turns around, and just as slowly walks away.

(i saw that.)

and as she left i heard her say,

“oh, let him be beautiful.
oh, let him be beautiful.
let him be beautiful.
let him be beautiful.
let him be beautiful.
let him be beautiful.
let him, just let him be beautiful.
just fucking let him be beautiful.”


_DSC7003_PhotoGuyLHeureuxphotos by guy l’heureux


title: the sitter

year: 2016 (work in progress)

duration: variable

supported by: the canada council for the arts and playwrights’ workshop montréal (the interdisciplinary writers’ unit led by sarah elkashef)


2016_the sitter_playwrights_photo_by_Alexandre_Galliez
performance presented at: bain michelle, montréal, québec, may 11 at 19h, 2016.
photo by : alexandre galliez

to begin with we have the sitter. the sitter, a fucked-up version of a tour guide who takes you into a “foreign land.” fucked-up because this is not her land. she, the sitter, doesn’t belong in this place, but has decided, decided with her conscious mind, to hang out in this place, and then, now she has decided, again with her conscious mind, to take you into this place that is not hers, through performance or story telling or whatever you want to call it. but really, she knows shit.

but lets back-track. not too far, just far enough to give you a picture.

the sitter is an “artist” (imagine someone doing the quotation marks with their hands as they say the word artist.) and artists get to make their own worlds, or, that is what this artist attempts to do, construct an imagined reality so she can go there and live in the world “as if” the world was like she imagined it. so, the sitter created a world where it was o.k. to go and sit in a park. she thought it was about assuming a position (that was before she realized she did not assume the position, bur rather the place assumed her) like a body position. a body in space, not quite active and standing, but not quite passive and lying down. yup, that is what she was doing she told herself. fuck.

so the sitter sat. for four months over the summer of 2012, then three months over the summer of 2013.

she took care to not “out” the people whose lives were being lived in public. rather, the sitter recorded the weather conditions, the temperature, the date, and chose a headline from the local newspaper to transcribe with ink on paper.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

what happened was : cabot square got gentrified. to the tune of 6.3 million.

grass? nah, lets rip it out. hedges? nope. people can hide shit in there. picnic tables? ha ha…you’re joking right? oh, and of course the benches gotta change. where are those “no sleeping” bars? oh, and the pathway through the park, lets make it concrete and build risers to keep people on the path, and yes, don’t forget the skatestoppers to keep those nasty property damaging skateboarders away. garbage containers? better not have those in the park, they attract canners.

(for full text go here : http://www.projectm45.com/square/)

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