Production Details / Press Releases
With lipsync, dance, video and storytelling, the drag legend and self-proclaimed Queen of the Heavens and of the Earth, Olympia Bukkakis tackles the question of the role of trans identities and drag practices in the current feminist discourse. For this, she ventures to fall back on her own family history: for it is not only for Bukkakis that the external assessment of her body, which was assigned male at birth, has had a profound influence on her existence in the world. Because of the female ascriptions to her body, Olympia Bukkakis’ mother and her five sisters carry out feminised labour – professions traditionally occupied by women and less valued by society. It is precisely in the example of feminised labour and its lower social esteem that Bukkakis finds interfaces to her own work as a drag performer: in the form of shared vulnerabilities, strengths and resilience strategies. In this way she creates a space for recognition and new ties of feminist solidarity beyond fixed gender, sex and generational boundaries.
OLYMPIA BUKKAKIS is a drag and dance artist. In 2009 she started to perform in Melbourne, Australia. Since moving to Berlin in 2012, she has organised various queer performance nights in Berlin, including Get Fucked, Apocalypse Tonight and Queens Against Borders. In 2018, she completed the SODA Master’s degree at HZT with her piece Tales From a State of Shemergency. Her piece Gender Euphoria celebrated its premiere at the Sophiensæle within the Tanztage Berlin 2019. Most recently she showed: Work on Progress (HAU), Under Pressures (Gessnerallee, Zurich) and Boys Night Out (Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne).
You know, people say everything happens for a reason. Well, that’s just a dreadful thing to say, I think, a stupid thing to say… And people say “why would this happen to you?” And I say “why wouldn’t it happen to me?” Because nobody’s special, nobody is… Good things happen to good people… And bad people… And bad things happen to everybody…
Leonie Hughes, Nurse, Mother, Grandmother, Aunty of Olympia Bukkakis
During a year of collective and personal trauma Olympia Bukkakis held 4 interviews with cisgender women in her family: her mother, two aunties and her little sister. They spoke about suffering, labour in and out of the home and perseverance. Olympia then worked with collaborators to develop performance material from these conversations, her own personal experiences and the objects and actions we engage with in everyday life.
For A Touch of the Other Olympia draws on her background as a drag artist to explore the potential of this kind of performance to engage with the lived experiences and knowledges of women. The differences and overlaps between Bukkakis’ embodied existence as a trans drag performer and those of her cis female relatives from a white working class family in New Zealand are put into conversation with the traditional relationship between drag performance and the women that it ‘imitates’. In doing so she engages critically with the established tradition within drag performance of portraying working class women’s speech and mannerisms.
Olympia Bukkakis takes feminised labour as a site where (drag) performers and working women may find commonalities that can contribute to a solidarity that transgresses sexual, gender and generational difference.
[Source: play bill]
TFB Nr. 1476
Cast & Credits
CONCEPT, PERFORMANCE, CHOREOGRAPHY: Olympia Bukkakis
DRAMATURGY: Allison Wiltshire
STAGE DESIGN, VIDEO: Camille Lacadee
LIGHT: Maika Knoblich
SOUND: Lyra Pramuk
COSTUMES: Jay Barry Matthews
PRODUCTION: Lisa Gehring
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Paul Niedermeyer
CHOREOGRAPHIC ASSISTANCE: Am Ertl
TEXT: Mindy Grumley, Daisy Grumley, Leonie Hughes, Tracey Maginn
A production by Olympia Bukkakis in co-production with SOPHIENSÆLE.
Funded by the Capital Cultural Fund.
The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):