PHOTO CREDIT: Dee Robertson
DRAG MOTHER, first performed as a 3 hour long interactive live installation at Horseplay, a queer club night in Bristol on 10th September 2016. In this version Rosana as DRAG MOTHER labia lip syncs to a mixture of iconic and popular drag queen tracks from the past sixty years. These include classics from Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Barbara Streisand, as well as modern day gay anthems. The songs are broken up by bits of text from ‘Watch with Mother’, where the RP motherly voice gives instructions about how to make things like pretty paper lanterns, accompanied by her dog, ‘Sausage’. These sections are spliced together with ‘How to…’ videos by Drag Queens talking about the art of drag, the role of drag mothers, and the way they construct their looks from tucking, to padding, to make up.
Intermittently she breaks from lip syncing and feeds audience members milky cocktails from her plastic bag breasts, vogues, touches up her make-up and tends to her assistant BABY (Eilidh MacAskill). These sections are soundtracked by a range of songs with male voices singing about mothers.
The performance is both a celebration and critique of female impersonation, the art of lip sync and the construction of the identity “woman” within patriarchal systems. It partly references the artists own complex relationship with her female anatomy and the idea of motherhood, whilst also destabilising the idea of natural sex/gender relationship through demonstrating the ways in which ideas about identities are created and repeated over time.
It is a reclamation of these iconic female voices, and presents strong feminist imagery in gay spaces, which are often male dominated. With the utmost respect for the role of drag queens within the development of queer rights and culture, Rosana is also dedicated to promoting female performers and developing platforms for their voices and bodies to be seen and heard.
DRAG MOTHER can work in different contexts and for different durations. It is a 5/10 minute cabaret slot as well as a longer durational performance that could take place in a club or performance festival.
Rosana is developing this into a performance that focuses on the history of female impersonation alongside the development of women’s rights and liberation. This might end up being an hour log studio show. Any of these iterations could work well within LGBT History Month of International Women’s Day celebrations…