Wow, it’s been a whole month since I’ve posted here, and with good reason. terraNOVA’s 3rd Annual Solo Arts Festival has been taking up all my time. It’s been a wild ride this year for more reasons than one, but I suppose that’s all part of producing a festival.
The best thing about it for me, quite frankly, has been acting in a play I wrote, FEEDER: A Love Story. It’s the first time I’ve done this, and it’s the first time I’ve acted in a play in about 5 years. I’d really forgotten the jazz one gets being on stage in front of strangers…and, I think, the craziest part, was walking out from backstage afterwards, receiving congratulations from friends, family and strangers. I’d anticipated enjoying the performing, but I’d forgotten that people come up and give props after the show. It was a funny and great experience.
The craziest part of the after show “meet and greet” was an introduction to a very pretty, overweight woman who approached me with a beaming smile. She introduced herself and told me what a great job I’d done. Turns out, she attended the show because her “friend” got the email from PS122 and he brought her. Then, I did it. I asked…
“So…do you know about this?” (‘This’ meaning ‘feederism,’ a fringe fragment of the BDS&M world where one feeds one’s sexual partner and ‘grows’ him/her to great sizes. – for those of you who don’t know, that’s what my play is about.)
“Well…what did you think?”
“You know when you see something on the news or on T.V., you know a lot about it, and you say, ‘That’s not quite right?'”
“You got it right. Remarkably accurate.”
OH MY GOD! She was very sweet, gracious and, I’m guessing, a feedee (one who gets fed). The first night I do the show, and I had a feedee in the audience! And, if she wasn’t a feedee, she knew a lot about the world. Interestingly, it was the greatest compliment I received all night, and I got a lot praise from a lot of wonderful people I love and respect.
I also received a lot of people turned off by the show (too, from people I love and respect) which I expected. This is what fascinates me so much about this subject and other people living on the fringe. They are polarizing. They are ostracize. And people are judgmental. Nothing new on this front. People have watched Geek/Freak Shows for centuries, engaged because of the differences between them.
At the same time, much of the message of FEEDER is about accepting who one is – we shouldn’t have to augment bodies, making them beautiful for someone else’s ideal. We, then, do become a slave to our need to be accepted by others. It’s only in the acceptance of one’s self that we can truly be happy, and I believe that’s the major message I want to convey in my work. It’s about loving one’s self, not augmenting one’s body into something else in order to be adored.
PS: I do believe in augmenting one’s body for the sheer fun and joy of it. And, as long as it doesn’t damage your health physically or mentally, go for it!
One more thing: In discussion, someone brought up the question of what is a fetish. And my sister relayed a bit of information from a friend of hers, a fetish photographer:
“If you are in to fetishes…and you enjoy it…but it’s just something you enjoy…that’s healthy. If you cannot enjoy sex without the fetish, it’s an obsession…which isn’t healthy.” My play explores the unhealthy side of fetishism, and when it goes truly wrong.
As Calvin Klein said: “Between Love and Madness lies Obsession.” I believe obsession and madness are closer cousins than Love and obsession. And in the case of fetishes, when one obsesses over his/her fetish, madness is just around the corner, as with anything in life.