Hearing the tale of Rapunzel read to me by my grandma played an important role in my formative years, as did other lessons she taught my sister and I. She arranged several excursions in order to teach us dinner table etiquette and taught us how the ideal shape of a woman´s legs was determined when she was growing up by holding a penny between the curves of the ankles, knees and inner thighs. She taught me how to correctly file my nails and frequently told me “it hurts to be beautiful”...this sentence epitomizes what I understood accompanied womanhood as a child.
Fairy tales happen in magical spaces outside of the quotidian. In parallel forest worlds, impenetrable towers and desert wastelands, the protagonists often give in to desire and make rash decisions. Within the liminal space of the forest, harps made of bones and strung with golden hair voice unspoken truths and are the inducer of dream and trance states. Hair is symbolic of strength and transformation and talking animals reveal hidden secrets. The moral of many tales illustrate the dangerous consequences of succumbing to the temptation of forbidden fruit. For this performance, I collaborated with Berlin based composer and harpist Sissi Rada to create an original score for harp, voice and body percussion that both accompanies the piece and is an integral part of it. Dame Gothel...it hurts to be beautiful contrasts recurrent themes of fairy tales and myth to the mundne movements of how one embodies a "lady". Wigs, digitigrade stilts and latex are used as a vehicle to transform myself into characters that evoke different depictions of femininity. The undulating movements of the harp players intermingle with the choreography, fixed and mobile harp constellations form the stage design. Sound, movement, silence and objects merge to create a contemplative soundscape in which the dreamlilke atmosphere of the fairy tale forest, a place that contains both beauty and darkness, is brought to the stage.
Concept, choreography: Anna Natt
Composition, harp: Sissi Rada
Harp: Anna Steinkogler
Harp: Lucie Delhaye
Dramaturgy: Mariona Naudin
Technical direction, light: René Heinrich
Photos: Piotr Rybkowski
22.10.2016 Freischwimmer Festival - Gessnerallee, Zürich