"A really sad theatre show": funeralizing performance, performing funerals in Victoria Melody's Ugly Chief (2017)
After her father’s diagnosis with a terminal, degenerative illness, British performance artist Victoria Melody decided to train as a professional funeral director in order to preside over his future farewell ceremony. Immersing herself in a subculture or community and becoming an active participant is the usual, idiosyncratic artistic methodology she relies on to craft her performance work — an approach she compares to an anthropologist’s. Extending the experience to a personal case seemed a way to distance and control an uncomfortable fact: her father’s decline and demise.
Her father’s misdiagnosis led her to finally devise a production in which they share the stage, with her training as a funeral director being used as a generic framework for the show as a “living funeral”.
The lecture will draw on scholarship in performance studies and death studies, as well as on the concept of kitsch, to offer a close reading of the performance piece and contextualize it within the framework of recent changes in real-life funeral care.
Dr MARIE PECORARI (L’UFR d’études anglophones de la Faculté des Lettres de Sorbonne Université) zajmuje się performatyką oraz anglojęzycznym teatrem i performansem. W PIASt PAN realizuje transdyscyplinarny projekt, w którym łączy metody i koncepcje wywiedzione z performatyki i z death studies, żeby badać współczesne praktyki pogrzebowe i ich różne konteksty.