La Mama, as part of their programming for this year’s Midsumma, are presenting two dress up shows. They’re not billed as such, and I suspect this was mere kismet, but it does strike me that both shows deal with dressups in a very queer way. In Doris and Doris … Go to a Funeral, it’s the boys dressing up, while Untitled, or The Seat of Narcissa provides an opportunity for the girls.
While this is the only similarity the two shows share, it is interesting to examine the dynamics of dressups for queer men and women. In Narcissa, the women queer masculine privilege and power structures, with the characters variously ruling, seducing and rejecting one another in a sort of lesbian Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Meanwhile, the titular Doris and Doris feminise themselves in ways both famiiliar and strange (their other sister Doris was absorbed in the womb and appears merely as a face beside Doris’s extremely conspicuous tuck).
Doris and Doris come not to priase Mother, but to bury her. Or perhaps merely to dispose of her remains, which hang ominously in a sack at the back of the set. And maybe they come to praise her a little, too. And maybe to do a few other things to her.
Both shows deal with costume in ways that are frivolous, yet simultaneously fraught with meaning. Narcissa’s costumes invoke old-timey glamour and constriction, whereas Doris & Doris’s drag
While I saw Narcissa and Doris & Doris on separate nights, I can imagine the juxatposition would be all the more pointed seeing them, as was possible, in a double bill.