Since Queen Of Carnage has been stirring we have 2 interviews in the mix. Links added below. If you keep scrolling we have also pasted the interviews below for your access, we will also be adding more as they happen. Keep on coming back..
Sobriety Twist is the artiste behind upcoming show Queen of Carnage this April. Based on Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, the production blends opera, performance art, theatre, installation and live music to create a truly unique experience. We caught up with Sobriety to tell us more…
Can you tell us more about Eternus Rebellus? How did you form a one woman production company?
Eternus Rebellus was formed out of 4 Women Productions: there were three of us in the beginning, and then two left. I didn’t want to come across as a megalomaniac or autocrat and call it Sobriety Twist Productions – but additionally, while I like to create alone and see myself as a hotbed of ideas, I also like to collaborate with like-minded people. Bringing other people onboard to contribute to the process of realization as well as putting forward their own ideas is important – Rome wasn’t built in a day (or by one person!)
What has been the most exciting part of creating this piece?
Our soundscaper not replying to my emails! That said, he has now replied and the soundscape is well on its way and we are all chugging along nicely. I think that the most exciting part is still to come – everything coming together in the next few weeks. Saying that – we also filmed Aeneas running about on Wimbledon Common with a gimp mask on during the half term holidays (which we weren’t aware of at first). If not exciting then it was at least frightening, for some…
What drew you to the Space as a venue?
Its character – it used to be a church, meaning acoustically it’s great as it has a high ceiling. And since meeting everyone at the venue I’ve been even more drawn to it – it has a great spirit to it and an olde-world feel, almost as if it’s seen much already but wants to see more …
What can audiences expect from Queen of Carnage?
We are hoping for a bit of a crossover audience. Promotionally, we are hitting three main areas – the opera crew, the live art crew and the fetish crew. Then of course we hope to appeal to some locals and theatregoers whose interest is piqued.It’s exciting to be approaching the opera scene – I think there will be many staunch traditionalists who will absolutely hate the idea of the show, but also some non-traditionalists out there that are curious, and others that love the idea before they have even seen it. When it comes to the fetish scene, what we are doing will most likely be seen as a bit tame as there is nothing explicit within the piece, but I hope that the theme will appeal. Fetishism and BDSM isn’t all about sex, orientation and sexuality – in this context it concerns lifestyle and love.
The Dominatrix has been reoccurring theme in your art; can you tell us a bit about this? What about this character attracts you?
The Dominatrix is a figure who (some may think bizarrely) I find oppressed by society in many ways. Of course, when something like 50 Shades of Grey comes out it is predictably about a Dom male – people still find it difficult to contemplate a woman as a dominant, never mind being presented with the representation or indeed the actuality of it. Being on the fetish scene myself for many years I have many Domme acquaintances – and consider myself one through and through – so it’s felt only natural to work with this theme.In Nocioception II I worked with some of Camille Paglias theories to inform my work. The reference to sadomasochism making resurgences in popular culture has never been truer than now, and I don’t only mean on the fetish scene with fetish scene people. When it came to creating Queen Of Carnage – I couldn’t help but draw some clear parallels with Dido and the Dominatrix, so blurring the lines was the next step.
What has been your most rewarding experience working in theatre, or one of your most rewarding?
When I was ten I was in a production of Toad Of Toad Hall as a weasel. That was on at the Birmingham Hippodrome, so a pretty great start!
What pushed you to make your next performance an adaption of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas?
I was struck by the beauty in the seeming simplicity of the opera’s music. That and my intrigue with Dido’s character meant that this was the one to get the special treatment. I’ve been into opera and discovering it as an artiste for some years now, alongside my performance and live art background. Plus, after having a baby (my third after 18 years) I feel I’m now stable enough to pull something off – although very pressed for sleep and time!
What do you have planned next for Eternus Rebellus?
Well I would say an eternal rebellion – but that may be too predictable! So perhaps a tour, just to return to the Space to do a by demand sell out month run in the summer or perhaps in time for Halloween…
Queen of Carnage plays at the Space from 11th – 15th April at 7:30pm. For more information and to book tickets, Click here
Updating Purcell’s Opera Dido & Aeneas with her dominatrix-take on things, incorporating various performance art and multimedia and presenting the brew at The Space (269 Westferry Road, Isle Of Dogs, E14 3RS, London) between 4/11-4/15 Sobriety Twist’s Queen of Carnage is sure to take the fringe theatre/fetish lover and layperson looking for a night of great theatre, by storm. I had the good fortune to talk to this mistress-provocateur of the theater about her production and how it fits in culturally to where we are presently.
Why this show at this time and from your first thoughts about it until getting it ‘up’ how long did it take to get it ready for the stage?
Some 5 years ago I first had the idea after seeing a multi-disciplinary work with opera in Vienna, feeling some of it worked, some didn’t, but altogether I thought it was a great idea. I had at this time already started practicing opera and of course, had a background in that type of avant-garde performance; since then, QOC was brewing. It was two years ago on adding some of the arias from Dido & Aeneas to my repertoire that I had the idea to use this opera-the central character Dido screamed Domme, as did I-the parallels were so clear I couldn’t resist.
With so many talented people working with you, how do you come to finally decide who you can use and who you can’t?
I usually approach people I know and whose work I have seen. Some may think that is a bad mantra but in art/performance I think it works. There is a great focus on the quality for Queen of Carnage and we all need to be critical from the onset. So if it is not working we are not using it.
Costuming, lights, the very visual nature of this show has to be something you work on very intensely.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you went about designing the ‘look’ of Queen of Carnage? Are costumes as much a reflection of the character’s inner struggles as styles you want to reveal to catch the eye?
The key to the setting for this work will be the projection, we will have little lighting, and this has been inspired by Kormische Oper’s Die Zauberflaute; we are using mostly the imagery/film as the set/lighting. Costume wise we are on almost zero budget but over the years I have collected quite a few stunning pieces – mostly from Libidex/Liberation.
How did you come to find the venue for this work?
Early last year, I went to see the venue and later in 2016 I applied for Arts Council funding, which I didn’t get this time around (being a former recipient). However I thought that I should take the plunge and instead of doing it totally independently, applied to the theatre to be included in their spring season.
After no responses from quite a few venues (thinking the fetish theme put them off) I found The Space online and approached them; from the onset, they were great and seemed to love the idea. Their focus has been/is on fringe theatre, so we are thankful to them for taking us on and I hope to do them proud with lots of bums on seats. this would be great for them as a small independent theatre: although of course, they have a great patron in Ian McKellen.
If given the opportunity, would you like to take QoC on the road?
Yes, if we get funding and/or co-producing venues to support us.
There are certain clichés that exist to the layperson when it comes to the BDSM world, do you want to up end these concepts as much as strength them, respectively?
I think so yes. I feel in some ways with this work that I am attempting somewhat to preach to the unconverted in combining the facets of opera with BDSM in a non- fetish environment (such as a fringe theatre) and then relaying the point that BDSM is or can be, as vanilla sexuality, a base from which springs a way of life and dare I say love. But then there is the whole enjoyment of reaching those who may seem a little shocked, and one day realize the pleasure in pain & discomfort.
There seems to be a redefining or at least some back-and-forth tug of war over what it means to be a feminist in the modern world.
Presenting this piece and as a working performer/dom, how do you define feminism presently?
I think there has always been a “tug of war” within feminism and that is how, like the West in general, it has managed to flourish, at least to some extent, though clearly not to its fullest. I think the Femdom thing is definitely at the more extreme end of feminist thought and action but there are still varying strands within that whole scene that contradict that. Within and between! says the Queen of Carnage and so that is what I shall end on.