In her lascivious, effusive, relentless shows, US performance artist Ann Liv Young knows just how to step on her audience’s toes. Trash and profundity, naked flesh and gender awareness, castigation and salvation, chaos and order – her works deconstruct pop culture stereotypes, interpret fairy tales in an unconventional manner or retell the biographies of historical figures, frequently bringing things back down to grim reality. Young discomfits her audience by provoking, embarrassing and crossing the bounds of intimacy.
In “Elektra” she examines the classical tragedy of Sophocles. Elektra’s world is a forsaken one, she is a young woman with an extremely violent family. Her beloved father Agamemnon sacrificed her sister, whereupon her mother murdered him with the aid of her lover; her brother has disappeared and in the end avenges his sisters. For this performer, Elektra is crazed, authentic, honest, compassionate, steadfast – and tragic as her individual actions, driven by a sense of honour, run counter to the rules of society. Ann Liv Young says “We want to tear apart the monster in us and that part of us that cannot stop it.”
The premiere of “Elektra” continues steirischer herbst’s cooperation with Ann Liv Young. Now a superstar of the international performance scene, she has already featured at the festival as a therapist receiving visitors in a hotel room and last year, in the role of “Sleeping Beauty” robbing the fairytale figure of its innocence.
Co-produced by steirischer herbst & Gessnerallee Zürich
By Ann Liv Young With Bailey Catherine Nolan, Charley Parden, Vanessa Soudan & Ann Liv Young Artistic collaboration Annie Dorsen Sound design Michael A. Guerrero Text “Elektra” by Sophocles Translation Anne Carson & Robert Bagg Production Kathryn Karwat