hoo:ha: Illuminating and exploiting a dissonance between funniness and sexiness with the female comic body in performance
Dr. Stephen Farrier and Dr. Experience Bryon
BA, Theatre and Film, University of Kansas
Professional Training Program: Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre
MA (Distinction), Advanced Theatre Practice (Performance), The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
I investigate the juxtaposition of funniness and sexiness in feminist comic performance using a PaR methodology. I argue that funniness and sexiness can be configured not only as oppositional or mutually exclusive, but also as dissonant and mutually provocative. My aims are threefold. Understanding this dissonance between funniness and sexiness as a theoretical concept contributes substantial new insight to humour theory, challenging heteronormative and patriarchal configurations of the comic vis-à-vis the erotic. Nuance is added to various conceptions of the comic body (including Rowe’s unruly woman, Bergson’s automaton, Critchley’s gap, and Bakhtin’s carnivalesque body) by the proposal and consideration of a sexy-comic feminist intersubject. Secondly, the dissonance is investigated and applied as a feminist comic strategy. The praxis demonstrates how performers can exploit the dissonance across a range of genres (e.g. live art, stand-up comedy, and neo-burlesque) to offer a feminist critique on cultural constructions of funniness and sexiness. This strategy is devised and activated in the praxis of hoo:ha, a series of three performances. Thirdly, the praxis articulates new liquid knowledge by manifesting a dissonant concurrence of funniness and sexiness, amusement and seduction, or laughter and desire in the experience of the performer and spectators, and rendering explicit the complex tacit knowledge involved.
I am a comedian and performance artist trained at the Dell’Arte School in California. I have taught at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London; the University of Kent; and Arts Educational Schools, London. I have performed at the Camden People’s Theatre, Spill Festival, Duckie, Leicester Square Theatre, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Kommedia, and New York’s Slipper Room. Conference presentations include the International Society of Humour Studies (Krakow) and Performing Gender (Belfast). I have published articles and reviews in Comedy Studies and McSweeney’s and have curated and given the keynote at the London Comedy Forum’s feminist comedy symposium. I was granted a research bursary by Central.
2016 Performer and writer, goo:ga, Camden People’s Theatre, London, and Brighton Fringe
2015 Performer and writer, hoo:ha, Calm Down Dear, Camden People’s Theatre, London
2014-Present Deviser, The Marina Abramopug Project http://marinaabramopug.tumblr.com/
2014 Actor, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN, Spill Festival
2008-12 Cabaret artist, Lambchop Magoo, various cabaret venues, London, New York, Berlin, Edinburgh
2013 ‘Pretty funny: Manifesting a Normatively Sexy Female Comic Body’, Comedy Studies, 4:2, pp. 179-86.
2015 ‘Measures we’re taking to offset the patriarchal footprint of our wedding’, Short essay for Timothy McSweeney’s, 5 June ˂http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/measures-were-taking-to-offset-the-patriarchal-footprint-of-our-wedding˃
2013 ‘Lady and The Tramp: Staging Dissonance in the Female Comic Body’, Contemporary Gendered Performance and Practice, Queen’s University, Belfast
2012 'Suspended Dissonance of the Deadpan Comic Nude', Humorous Intent Symposium, Mostyn Gallery, Wales
2012 'Flora and Fanny: Staging Dissonance with the Female Comic Body', International Society of Humour Studies Conference, Jagiellonian University, Krakow
Identity and Performance
Devising Solo Performance