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An Interview with Sobriety Twist: Queen of Carnage

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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.

 

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