About the Project
My work over the last several years has explored dominant identities, their connections to violence, and how to build imaginative terrains of where we can heal from their impacts. WAR Belly continues this journey into an exploration of male socialization, behavior, and its repercussions. This is a unique moment of mainstream consciousness around men’s violence that makes space for deeper questions about the fundamental nature of maleness and violence. In this multimedia extravaganza, the drag-huntress Victory Medusa will lead audiences in a fabulous faux-ritual to stalk “the Man” and bring him to heal. I am thrilled to have Nico Swenson directing this project.
WAR Belly is an interactive drag performance exploring male socialization and all its messy ramifications from a trans-feminine perspective. During the show audiences will be led through a series of warped childhood games designed to uncovered the violence at the core of male identity and explore how we can heal from the damage it reaps. Throughout these activities Victory Medusa will perform a drag numbers intended to frame the games and broaden the possible meanings the audience can make. These will include both lip-synced songs and monologues, as well as remixed videos of childhood cartoons like Avatar the Last Air Bender and He-Man.
Why We Need Support
We are raising $2,200 in order to pay for props, costumes, space rentals, and artist stipends. Because these sites track number of donors as well as amounts even a small donation is a huge help. Please also consider sharing with friends and family by email or social media.
Why This Matters
We are in a moment in history where the consequences of violence and domination are quite literally leading us towards devastation and ruin. As the environment collapses, social relationships fracture, and any semblance interdependence is subsumed by hate and fear this pieces looks deeply into one of the root causes of and safe havens for violence: maleness. And yet WAR Belly is a piece deeply rooted in hope, the hope for us to confront violence, the belief that people can move beyond identities of domination, the commitment to work together towards a just and peaceful world. WAR Belly is one effort to look towards the heart of violence in search of a deeper, more loving humanity that we might all inhabit.
Eli Steffen is a Seattle based artist whose work focuses on the intersections of community, culture, and identity. Eli seeks to understand what binds us together and how that relates to personal representation, violence, and belonging. Most recently Eli has performed with Syniva Whitney/Gender Tender, the A.O. Movement Collect, Future Husband, and Vanessa Dewolf. Eli is a founding member of Future Husband, an international performance collective. Eli’s work has been shown at Dixon Place, The Martha Graham Studio, Richard Hugo House, Seattle City Hall and the Museum of History and Industry. To find out more please visit elisteffen.com.
Nico Pecans/Swenson graduated from the University of Minnesota's B.A. Theatre Program in 2014. They work primarily in drag as "Miss Texas 1988" with two monthly shows at Kremwerk and Clockout Lounge and a rotation of gigs around the Seattle and PNW area. Previous to moving to Seattle in 2016, Nico worked as a Minneapolis theatre artists doing performance, technical design, directorial work, and playwriting with companies such as Bedlam Theatre, Combustible Company, Red-Eye Theatre, Open-Eye Figure Theatre, and Intermedia Arts.
Finally, thank you so much to all the people who have supported us over the years.
Risks and challenges
This project is an exciting and timely piece of theater. However, because of that it is being created in a short timeframe with a small group of collaborators. My biggest fear is not being able to to afford the materials for this show or to pay the artists for their work. We are working hard to gather materials cheaply and to reach out to supporters to ensure we are able to adequately compensate the artists.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter