Girl in Suitcase
9 October 2016
At Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, London for Panic Sermons Act I, Modern Panic VII.
In October 2016, I brought a ‘Girl in Suitcase’ performance to a Panic Sermons evening at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. As with my previous two performances in Venice, I was given a 20-minute slot. That’s about time to tell a short story, and I decided to be less verbal and more visual with audience interaction. Nevertheless I had a narrative I was working with, even if less obvious to the audience.
It felt like the right environment, where I would be engaging with an audience more closely connected to the alternative scene of my past. Indeed, I was unprepared for how raw it made me feel afterwards. I knew I couldn’t continue with that work for a while, but would return to it when I was ready.
One literally touching moment in the show was when I asked the audience to paint my body orange. They were very gentle and for this moment more than any others I felt very held and appreciated by them. You never know if people will respond to the call, though so far they always have. Afterwards I walked round with brushes and black paint and asked people to draw on me.
I since read in her book, ‘The Art of Asking‘, that Amanda Palmer does this in her house parties. She describes the intense trust it involves and bonds created, as well as recommending it to others. It has been a part of my shows since 2014, and is most profound after I have delivered an intimate monologue because then the connection feels strongest. What they have heard influences how they paint on you.
Recording of extracts from the live performance (9 minutes).
This video is free to access but if you would like to make a donation towards my work as an artist, it would be highly appreciated as the performance was entirely self-funded – paypal.me/EstherBunting
Photos of the live performance.
Promo image for the performance.