Marcia Farquhar, Acts of Clothing

Review in Issue 21-1 | Spring 2009

As we file in and sit alongside the catwalk, I nudge my neighbour: “Look, on the clothes rail, she has a tartan flamenco dress”. I was already hooked. That dress, and curious red garments I took for dressing gowns, bookended Marcia’s bravura romp through a life in clothes.

Acts of Clothing was an accomplished performance by an artist thoroughly at home with her material… Starting with that dress. It’s her own clan tartan and has been pivotal in her career. In it, she performs her party piece, which represents her Scottish and Spanish ancestry – a bit of un-trained flamenco without music (“I have to rely on the duende”), and some offkilter Scottish jiggery.

As key outfits are dragged on and off, Marcia doesn’t stop talking. Her voice is wonderfully deep and posh. She has a fluency and turn of phrase that is elegant and naturally humorous. Each outfit comes with an accompanying anecdote, and Marcia’s life unfolds. She is candid yet vulnerable. “This outfit reeks of courage” she says of a spotted mini jumpsuit which she wore to the beach when recovering from an operation for piles, before telling a story of marital mis-communication that is revealing of both parties.

The show ends with the curious red outfits. Not dressing gowns, but her version of a cut-out paper doll chain. It fits seven, and as they dance, we all wish we could be part of Marcia’s wardrobe. There are few performance artists who can make you feel so at ease, comfortable in the knowledge that they will deliver something special. Acts of Clothing is a timeless wonder – resonant to all of us beyond our teenage years with decades of sartorial disasters and joys to think back on.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-1
p. 32