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Gal Joins the Deconstruction Crew in a New Show (January 2009)
What Is Performance Art? Janice/BBC Interview
Janice Perry is a hoot - Times Argus (February 2008)
Artist Residency Review - Vermont (December 2007)
25 Years on Tour preview (November 2007)
May 1998 · Olten, Switzerland
By Jacqueline Lausch Dietler
(translated from German)
Between quintessential femme and Doris Day Janice Perry at the Theaterstudio Olten
Janice Perry, U S powerball, offered with "Out from Underground" a sparkling mix of big show and Kleinkunst, last weekend at the Theaterstudio Olten.
Small wonder Janice Perry is labeled Power Woman. With her, the almost tired term takes on an entirely new meaning. She is like a hurricane on stage. She pants, is snotty and swears, while still remaining the nice lady from next-door you'd entrust your plants to without a moment's hesitation. Janice Perry wriggles from one costume into the next without missing a beat. Simply a bundle of energy. The change of costumes goes with the show like butter on bread. Frocks glitter and glimmer more or less tastefully in the limelight. A particular gem: the legendary twirling dress of Marilyn Monroe -- paying true homage to the original, even without a subway ventilator shaft.
Play with traditional show elements
Janice Perry plays in a delightful way with traditional show elements, creating an atmosphere of gaiety and buoyancy, only to deconstruct it immediately: Waltzing across the stage like the quintessential femme, only to ask herself the same instant what Doris Day would have done in her place. But the audience is not awed into silence by the flamboyant artist, since Perry keeps in touch with them, sustaining a hardly ever interrupted conversation. She immediately engages the audience in the simmeringly hot Theaterstudio with a charming causerie about sweating bodies and dissolving make-ups.
She then embarks on a tour d'horizon of various topics in which we get to know everything about cultural understanding and patriotism, U S funding of the Arts and homosexuality and the patterns of ill-fated love. Her method of getting her messages across is unrivaled. One moment her performance is unbridled exaggeration, the next she puts on a fake friendly anchorwoman's mask. Then chirping Monroe-like into the microphone, then howling like a punk grrrrl. She sharply stages everyday stories and moves from one character to another with unmatched ease. For instance, when reviving the horrors of a U S-traveler, panicking at the German train conductor who demands to see her ticket, earning disgusted looks when she finally produces the crumpled item. Perry is convinced the ways in which people keep their tickets would produce enough evidence for a scientific study in cultural idiosyncrasies. We can easily guess at how hotly contested the public funding of Arts is in the U S, when Perry describes the men in charge as old, rich, white, conservative, heterosexual pillars of moral society. A fact she takes as cue to perform a really good song in which she fathoms the treacherous waters of eroticism and obscenity.
Opera the American way
The highlight of the show is a skeptical tour of the opera world with Janice Perry. Who decides, after in-depth studies of the genre, that she knows enough about sex and crime to stage her own classical opera. This subsequently leaves hardly a dry eye in the house. The artist as jilted lover and jilting suitor. The accident. The fatal misunderstanding. The murder, remorse and another murder. Curtain. In the encore the U S performer again shows the breadth of her artistry and show[wo]manship, in a very amusing mix of tragedy and comedy -- letting herself be torn between two characters in incredibly comic and breathtakingly swift changes. Janice Perry's witty and entertaining performance left her audience in an unequivocally great mood.
© Janice Perry