Ursula Martinez, My Stories, Your Emails

Review in Issue 21-3 | Autumn 2009

In this latest work by the well-established partnership of Ursula Martinez (here performing solo) and director Mark Whitelaw, the murky waters of personal identity and public ownership are neatly entwined with the comical and playful mode of delivery that Martinez is renowned for. Dealing with an unexpected rise in popularity after her Hanky Panky routine (a striptease where a red handkerchief disappears and re-emerges in the unlikeliest of places) was posted on the Internet, she explores the difficulty in separating the ‘real’ Martinez from her fictional stage persona.

My Stories and Your Emails occur at opposite ends of the stage, with Martinez recalling personal anecdotes about her friends and family before moving on to ridicule a selection of the fan mail she received. This arbitrary mix of tales about Mars bars resembling cat poo, or her dad’s refusal to change his underpants, against the more disturbing correspondences from people requesting her friendship and reflecting their own personal agendas, allows the audience to deliberate the role they both play in the construction of her identity. Although both sections offer an insight into the crazy world of Martinez, we are still subjected to the same misdirection employed in her disappearing hanky trick; our attention is cleverly focussed on the stories and emails of others (accompanied by some hilariously bad accents) in order to hide the more exposing material and personal judgements about herself. This playful deception and the slippage of classification between the real and the fictional is exemplified by her willingness to get naked at the close of the performance – as Martinez’ ambivalent display of nudity reveals all and conceals everything at the same time…

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2009

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-3
p. 26