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Culture Published on 24.03.2022

Tick tock, tick tock…

stark bollock naked

With stark bollock naked, Larisa Faber is back to perform her feminist take on the biological clock.

Developed through Larisa’s residency at neimënster, this feminist creation, performed in English, addresses the current pressures of living as a woman in today’s society and fighting against the preconceived and essentialist notions of womanhood and motherhood. Short on time? Skip to the last page to read the synopsis written by Faber herself.

Introduction

Larisa Faber is a Luxembourgish actor and writer. Faber produces a very diverse set of performances, from featuring in Luxembourg’s first Netflix show, Capitani, to crafting theater plays harboring important social commentaries. Faber uses her positionality to create moving and relatable experiences for the viewer. The originality behind Faber’s work keeps us on the edge of our seats, eagerly waiting to finally have a look at what her new creation has to say about the world we are living in.
Written for the people arriving at the age of struggling with the societal expectations of motherhood, Faber creates an empowering and relatable play inspired by her own struggles with the biological clock. Society’s expectations create certain categories for women at certain points in their lives, however we often forget that these expectations impact people’s mental health and identity as well. Why is it that the female identity is repeatedly associated with the concept of childbearing? How can we deconstruct that? And how can we arrive at a point where being a woman does not automatically imply being a mother?

Did you know?

In Faber’s eyes, all art is political. It might not always be at the core of her projects, but it is a constant factor. Influenced by her interest in the overall representation of women in art, Faber wants to explore this theme through a breaking-of-taboos performance. This initiative comes in response to the overall reductionist portrayal of women in art. She wants to “move beyond the ‘Madonna-whore’ dichotomy and offer an alternative for female representation”. In order to push people outside of their comfort zone, Faber uses a fresh and intriguing way to communicate her ideas: the projection of different images onto her completely naked body. The female body has always been a subject of objectification in the history of art but in this context, Faber switches this intention. She uses her body as an object for projection to question the very reason of why women are objectified in the first place.
Faber was born into a Romanian immigrant family. Her family’s oral history immigrated with them by sharing their own storytelling traditions when settled down in Luxembourg. These stories were rooted in a bizarre humor, a coping mechanism in order to deal with the harsh conditions of living under the communist dictatorship of the time. The performance artist incorporated this tradition into her own storytelling by including eccentricity as a sophisticated and necessary element for the play. The odd humor is a foundational characteristic of her piece: stark bollock naked.
The stated title is a literal description of Faber’s concept. However, the middle word, “bollock”, is crossed-out for a specific reason. Bollock is a rude word for nonsense usually deriving from a male-dominated vocabulary. Purposefully striking out this word in the title is a nod to Faber’s rejection of the male gaze. She wants to generate an honest conversation needed to discuss the social intricacies of the pressures of the biological clock and that conversation can only happen if women’s voices are heard and placed at the center.

neimënster residency

The piece is composed of two artists’ performances: one is a provocative and emotional monologue by Larisa Faber and the other is a live performance of Catherine Kontz accompanied by inventive instruments. This is not a one-woman show but instead a collaboration between Faber’s vision and a musical score composed by Kontz. The latter is a prominent Luxembourgish multidisciplinary music composer who works mostly in the realms of opera and theater. She was asked by Faber to create and perform a slightly unusual composition using an orchestra of genealogical instruments.
Faber’s residency in neimënster allowed her to reflect on inquiries she hadn’t had the chance to address before. This was an opportunity to create more depth around the two performances on stage and to conceptualize a more enriching ending for the show. At the beginning, the core goal of the play was to produce a general philosophical conversation about the biological clock. However, after the elongated residency due to the pandemic, Faber reached a new purpose: sharing a character-driven story. The goal is to demonstrate the protagonist’s struggles, how these difficulties affected her mental health and what she is doing about it.
The residency has also pushed Faber to add a new feature to the show: the work of 10 female and non- binary artists who are all related in some way or another to Luxembourg. According to Faber, this novel addition provides the alternative that the play needed. To go against a mostly patriarchal representation of women in art, these creative artworks give us an insight into a world where men no longer have the only available perspective and feminism is an integral part of a creative process. In her own words: “The only label I have ever claimed for myself is feminist”.

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