I Love Ursula Hamdress
- Adeline Amar
- 8 September 2016
This article is from 2016
A physical theatre performance about the contemporary condition of women and farmed animals
I Love Ursula Hamdress is a one-woman show that explores the similar contemporary conditions of women and farmed animals, in a blend of theatre and physical theatre. Inspired by Carol Adams' unpublished lecture The Sexual Politics of Meat, Ursula Hamdress draws parallels between women and cows, and their objectification by patriarchal society as consumable female bodies.
The show opens on Gabriella Zeno as Ursula Hamdress, an aspiring showgirl who tries to attract men's attention. Through Zeno's breathtaking performance, Ursula's story starts to overlap with other women's, then a farmed cow, then sow, until their identities become one. Zeno eventually resorts to physical theatre to impersonate the cow and sow, as a recording of her voice narrates their stories.
The simple set of white lilies and red carnations lined up on the floor elegantly highlight the physicality of Zeno's performance. 'I am female,' she claims as she kicks off her red shoes and removes her white dress, in one of the most powerful scenes. She uses lilies to transform her breasts into udders, and eventually writhes on the floor among the faded flowers as the voice recording narrates the cow and sow heading to the slaughterhouse. Her visceral physical theatre performance makes for an emotional and unforgettable tribute to feminine identity.
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