Conservas, Femina Ex Machina

Review in Issue 14-1 | Spring 2002

Femina Ex Machina has probably the best opening sequence I have seen on stage ever. An interesting claim so I will try to recreate it here for you.

A raven-haired girl-woman lies centre stage (butt naked) sucking a lollipop, meeting the audience’s gaze with nonplussed audacity – for some time. Then, enter stage right a girl on a swing – a very low swing which arcs the length of the other’s body, just skimming her buttocks. Then she starts smacking the buttocks with her shoe over and over again, for some time. I sense the audience growing impatient and irritated with such cheek, on behalf of our Lolita. But, just at the point when you think it’s getting too much she suddenly draws a gun and shoots the girl on the swing. Blackout.

Yes, not quite the same as being there, I know, but I laughed loud. This was the first of seven vignettes in a similar vein, some as well realised and others not so, but all employing a witty and often surreal take on ‘femaleness’. There is a scientific study of the unusual creature known only as ‘woman in love’; a woman in black who has her own supply of tears which run out; a tiny TV image of a coin being placed in the vaginal slot; and some very strange machines. Or were they devices for torture? And of course, there is the woman with her head in the goldfish bowl…

Conservas is a Barcelona-based company led by performance artist Simona Levi. Their work is so fun and refreshing I could have watched it for hours.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-1
p. 24