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Jocasta's Giant Clasp

Anna Thew
1995
30 mins 5 screens 16 mm
five screen and performance

Jocasta's Giant Clasp

'magick expanded cine-performance - Jocasta in search of a cinema with a sumptuous iconoclastic multi-projected backdrop of 16mm films, salsa dancers & rare Kurt Weill songs'

Valentine's Night, 14th February 1995. Fifty years after the bombing of Dresden, and the second day of the trial, Crown v. A. Casson. "The same day I was on the witness stand...", Jocasta is caught up in a web of movie scenarios against a five screen backdrop of multi-projected film.

The piece, in memory of Neil Caplan, Derek Jarman, Atilio Lopez, Manfred Salzgeber, Alf Bold, and others, is about theatre, the loss of cinema doyens, the loss of artists, the loss of faith in the British Justice system. "When friends die, you carry bits of them round with you like shrapnel..." Jocasta enters, holding a giant clasp, looking for Oedipus, whom she last saw in Pasolini's Oedipus Rex at the Scala before it closed down. A dream is read out about Derek floating past Manfred in heaven. Alf, Atilio, Neil. She sings, 'Youkali', about a paradise island that is a mirage. Agatha clutching her blood soaked chest is abruptly hauled off by henchmen with swords. Blancmange breasts with cherries on top are proffered on a platter (after Tiepolo). A pastiche Pietà candle lit carnival float, with Virgin Mary in gold crown and black Jesus with loin cloth, six pack, stigmata and crown of thorns, is wheeled out to salsa music. 'Stabat Mater' by Poulenc, drowns the salsa. The Virgin strips off, lets down her orange wig, hauls on a tight red shift, turns into a whore, and sings 'Nana's Lied', "Wo sind die Tränen von gestern Abend?" ("Where are last night's tears?"). Finale: youth with shaven head, pink net frock and para boots (after Sydney Peterson's The Lead Shoes) hopscotches. Queen of Hearts in spiky red crown (after Neil Caplan in Kemp's Alice) spins past. Mayhem. The cabaret whore goes out of tune. Jesus becomes Saint Sebastian. Thunderous applause and catcalls as the entire troupe blinded by film, tap, tap with white sticks into the audience...

Projection on five suspended bed sheets: cut ups, out-takes, slash dupes, mute prints from Eros Erosion, Dominica Diary, Cling Film, Behind Closed Doors, Mourning Garden Blackbird, Blurt Roll 2 etc. etc..

Valentine's Night performance hosted by David Medalla and Adam Nankervis, in conjunction with David Medalla's Bubble Machines exhibition at Gee Street Gallery, London.

Jocasta's Giant Clasp

15 mins, Umatic video 1995

video document

Hi-8 filmed by Paul Rogers, who was sober and Jean Marc Prouveur who was not. Edit on Umatic video: Anna Thew.

Anna Thew as Jocasta, Saint Agatha, Virgin Mary, whore; 'S', Steve Moore as Eddie (Oedipus); Arthur Peters as Jesus, St Sebastian; Fred Mann, Oliver, henchmen; Mady Morris, Renato Paroni, salsa dancers; Gavin Mitchell, hopskotch; Ra Thew, Queen of Hearts; piano, Anna Thew.

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