“Rip It Open”, an exhaustive and athletic examination of each performer’s relationship to violence. This series of solos and duets features choreography by Donohue, lighting design by Frank DenDanto III, costume design by Anh Bui, video and sound design by Brian Nishii, with performances by Donohue, Peggy Cheng, Nancy Ellis, and Nishii.
Inspired by personal experience and the go-go dancing, karate chopping chicks of “Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!”, “Rip It Open” uses vibrant imagery, demanding choreography and vigorous dancing to explore the relationship between violence and the individual. Alternately vicious and humorous, “Rip It Open” examines the intimate acts of destruction that permeate our lives.
Donohue and company explore issues connecting them as both victims and perpetrators of violent acts. The audience enters into an arena style setting with Nishii “selling” beers to the crowd, Peggy Cheng, dressed as a Japanese school girl and Nancy Ellis, in old fashioned undies, serving as Card Girls. The work moves through images of aggression beginning with Donohue’s relentless barrage against a hanging punching bag, a tirade of violent sexual fantasies told in a bungee cord enhanced confessional and a celebration of B-movie revenge divas. The work is highlighted against a backdrop of popular music by female artists such as PJ Harvey, Hole & Pamela Means. The program also includes footage from Maggie Hadleigh-West’s explosive film “WarZone” as well as spoken word by regular collaborator Eirene Donohue, Philadelphia’s Yellow Rage and Brooklyn based dynamo Alix Olson.
This work was made possible in part by the Manhattan Community Arts Fund/NY City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and commissioning funds provided by NYSCA.