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Directed by Benjamin Mosse and Richard Schechner

Natalie Romero Marx: Assistant stage manager, video and installation producer, performance artist

Imagining O is made from the women who die in Shakespeare’s plays—Ophelia particularly—the paintings of Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski), and “O,” the central figure (dare we call her a heroine?) of Pauline Réage’s 1954 Histoire d’O, an erotic novel in the style of the Marquis de Sade. Réage herself is imaginary—the nom de plume of Dominique Aury who was born Anne Desclos. Complex because women in our still pervasively sexist cultures are “instructed” to play their assigned roles. When they step out of line they are admonished, as is “O” repeatedly. If only “O” were the creation of a man (as for years she was presumed to be), her sufferings and pleasures would be more palatable. And Shakespeare, this master who wrote roles for boys embodying women: what’s his gender? Add to this the rich panoply of “dispersals,” scenes located in and around the Kasser Theater, imagined by the women performers working closely with the directors.

—The Artistic Team

Photos by Marina Levitskaya

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