Don't Let Me Die

photo by Monika Sobczak

At the P.A.S. workshop I met Savio Debernadis, from Italy, and instantly everyone in the group noticed that we mirrored each other in many ways. We had very similar hair type and color, skin color, body size and even personality traits. I enjoyed coming so far from familiarity to find someone very familiar to myself like a long lost relative.

We decided to experiment with the potential of each other's similarity for the possibility of a performance together. During the exercises of the workshop and even during our free time we were critical of each other to notice what is the quality of our interaction. Finally we admitted to ourselves that our interaction was not harmonious because we were too much the same. Together we emphasize our individual pathetic qualities making every movement very internal and psychologically tense or even absurdist.

The major difference between us is our gender but even that is debatable because of our common body type and androgyny. However, gender was included in our final performance as a secondary theme to play with like props. We both wore similar hair styles and clothes  but still it was obvious that one was more authentically female and the other was almost passing. He had plenty facial hair so his passing for female was more like a parody and obviously untrue. We had another gender prop; this was the action repeated through out the night of imposing each other's gender on the other. I had lipstick in my hand as a symbol of my femaleness and he had an eyeliner pencil, used to give me the appearance of facial hair, to symbolize his maleness.

photo by Matthias Pick

The main action consisted of us being binded together back to back to see how we survive as one homogenous being since we are so much the same. This was a reference to Aristophanes' speech in Plato's Symposium that says people were made so perfect that they made the gods jealous. So one day Zeus cursed them all by separating them and thereby forcing them to spend their lives in search of their other half and end the misery of being alone and separate.

photo by Monika Sobczak

It was a durational performance beginning as my solo performance ended until the end of the night; that lasted 150 minutes. He has the eyeliner in his hands, trying to draw moustaches on me. I have a lipstick, trying to put it on his lips. The only way we allowed ourselves to communicate is with the phrase “ Don’t let me die”. The time, the uncomfortable position, the impossibility of a good communication, the action to put lipstick or eyeliner on the other was a journey from the pathetic, the absurd and the humorous. The performance finished when he, gave a knife to a person in the audience, and said: “Please let me die”. The person cut the tape and the two performers run away becoming free from the other.

doppelgängers struggling

doppelgängers almost dying

photos by Monika Sobczak

The whole that Aristophanes spoke of was not us because we were exact doubles so conflict and disharmony arose. There could be no point of contact and intersection between so much of the same. The more alike we were the more impotent we became together.

More information and photos on the performance can be viewed :