I wrote the following piece in 2010 for a burlesque show produced by the Bitches of Destiny entitled “Show”. It was an event at the Coolidge Corner Theater to promote Henry Hornstein’s newly published book by that title. I’ve performed the piece a few times since, maybe it’ll make a comeback sometime soon… This piece of writing keeps popping into my mind recently, so here it is – I hope you enjoy.
TO SURVIVE THE LAWS THAT KEEP US SILENT AND IN PLACE: A BURLESQUE
She takes a moment to adjust her skirt. Runs a hand up her stockings… plays with the audience’s expectations.
She picks up the mic and says hello to a person or 2 in the audience… She flirts a little.
She picks a volunteer from the audience and brings them onto the stage.
Her new companion receives a laundry basket…
What turns you on? (she touches herself)
My glasses? My skin? My hair? My breasts? My mind? My mouth? My questions? My movement? (stands) My shoes? My hips? My down below? (she moves into the audience and begins removing clothing, motioning for her volunteer to follow)
Would you fuck me because of the dress I wear?
The tie I wind around my neck? The cut of my shirt? The cigar I smoke? The way I sit?
Do you assume I want your touch and attention because I am listening to you?
If I flirt do I owe you something?
At what point in our relationship do you own me? (motions for audience member to help get undressed)
Halfway through dinner? After kiss? After sex? After drink? After smile? Half way in? After marriage? After I show mine? After touch? After consent? After payment?
If I say stop will you respect that?
No matter. How. Far. In. We. Are?
Will you ask me for what you want?
In life? In bed? In another partner? In relationship? In me?
Do you act needy? Do you assume? Do you use others against me? Do you negotiate respectfully or do you manipulate? What if one day I want him or her or them? (she directly references people in the audience)
Am I a bitch/cunt/whore for being separate from you? For being me – fully and honestly? For having a voice outside of your comfort or fantasy? (she moves back toward the stage)
After that fight how do you keep me? Through co-dependence? Through negotiation? Manipulation? Therapy? Through “I love you” or money? Through family? Abuse? Depression, dependence, lies? Communication? Depravity? Begging? Time? Through physical power? Through sex? Blackmail? Through space? (she is back on stage)
1. 2. 3.
Are you ready?”
(She finishes stripping, turns, and exits)