Written and Choreographed by Cynthia Oliver Premiered at Performance Space 122 May 18 – 21, 2000 Performers: Oliver, Rhetta Aleong, Cynthia Bueschel, Renee Redding-Jones, Melissa Wynn Music: Straylight featuring Jason Finkelman, Geoff Gersh, Charles Cohen
SHEMAD is a full evening choregraphic/performance work by Oliver that addresses notions of women gone mad. Utilizing Caribbean mythologies behind women who contain immense power over others in their respective communities, Oliver asserts some diagnoses of “madness” has become a method designed to manage, and contain women’s power and potential in society. This new work problematizes the notion of madness as it has been presumed in our culture and complicates the way the term has been used within communities of women, men, and larger social constructs in both the Caribbean and the Americas. SHEMAD questions the ways in which categories of speech are employed to determine women who do not “behave” as mad, and tells stories which vocally, physically, and musically embody devices that have been used to “contain” mad women. SHEMAD is an evening length piece with five amazing, dancing, talking women, live music, beautiful costumes, and of course HIGH DRAMA.