Past discussions have covered topics such as “bordering off our wildness” to “what it means to revise, revision, resist or rewrite the stories that seem to hold on over time” to “the multiple ways in which “time” is constructed and deconstructed through the imagery”. And the ever popular prompt, “What is the wolf at your door?”
I have been studying and researching fairy tales and their variants, tropes, and memes for over twenty years. Once Upon a Time Wolf comes out of deep research into “Little Red Riding Hood” tales. A patriarchal tale in most of its common forms, “Little Red Riding Hood” is rich for a resistant telling. Donna J. Haraway in Staying with the Trouble writes about the resignifying and twisting of stories as a practice throughout human time, particularly around the stories that still move us materially. The continued reoccurrence of “Little Red Riding Hood” themes (memes) over time suggest that the story is still waiting to be told, that the interconnectedness of gender/age/wildness/boundaries/animal are still notions worth troubling.
Once Upon a Time Wolf begins by declaring the hackneyed opener “once upon a time”, shattered. And proceeds to announce that this story will only be told through its shards, “sharp enough to draw blood.”
Once Upon a Time Wolf dares to place as the central performer a solo, middle-aged woman, in her body, talking and dancing. As Madonna recently said when accepting her Billboard’s Woman of the Year award for 2016, “…and do not age, because to age is a sin. You will be criticized, you will be vilified, and you will definitely not be played on the radio.”
Once Upon a Time Wolf is designed for small, intimate venues including domestic spaces. The audience may be seated at long tables covered in butcher paper with colored pens. They are invited to “doodle, take notes, or draw” as they watch the piece. After the twelve minutes of performance, audience may voluntarily share something from their writing/ drawing. And then we enter conversation. Like a book club...
What is the wolf at your door?”
“Wolf” began its creative process in 2014, and premiered at Alternate ROOTS Annual Gathering. Since then “Wolf” has been performed at Skwirlhaus in Atlanta and Catapult in New Orleans. KD Productions produced a West Coast tour to domestic spaces June 2017: San Francisco, Berkley, San Diego.
Below: Audience drawings gathered at the Catapult performance in New Orleans
Written, choreographed and performed by Celeste Miller, it is performed in an Act 1, Act 2 format. The first act is the performance. The second act is an audience conversation. The whole event lasts around 60 minutes.