mame losh’n [mother tongue]. In collaboration with Elan Margolis, I co-wrote, created puppetry, set design and video performance for Mame Losh’n, a live show culminating in an hour and a half long multi-media queer shtetl spectacular. We performed at Hampshire College in Northampton, MA in April 06 with a cast of over 20 circus performers, burlesque dancers, actors and musicians.2005 – 06.
Mame Losh’n is part Yiddish folk tale, part fairy tale and part modern fantasy that addresses queer relationships and body identities, the conflict between tradition and modernity, and narrative and performative play. The story follows two young girls, Chana and Raizel, who fall in love in their small Yiddish town and flee to the big city when Chana is forced to marry by her family. The narrative is presented mainly by the demon storyteller and is accentuated by live dance and circus performance. We follow Raizel’s quest as she learns of her widowed mother’s love affair with a Golem incarnation of her dead husband, and how Raizel dons the clothes of her dead father and travels through the world as a man. On her way she visits the burlesque halls of the big city and is treated to a drag show and queer striptease, then continues on to look for her lover under the big top of the circus. Chana has, in the course of their separation, become a tiger, and the two meet for a final scene with multi-screen projections of super 8 and puppetry video. In the circus ring, Raizel becomes the trainer and Chana the tiger, playing out the danger and intimacy of their relationship without revealing their true natures to the world.