Fishnets & desire: performing the neoburlesque
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 13:26 by Jessica Thorp
Fishnets & Desire: Performing the Neoburlesque is a reflection upon the art installation and performance piece of the same name, and reflects upon neoburlesque performance genre, through the lens of the author's primary research of creating these works. Written as a piece of per formative scholarship, this paper outlines the creative process of the author's project, and the theatrical history, theory, and methodology behind it. Fishnets & Desire is a reflection of performance and queer theories, meditating upon the specific art forms of burlesque striptease and drag, and how they enact gender performativity. Neoburlesque is a tongue-in-cheek and satirical form of expression, which lampoons gender stereotypes, and societal expectations. The current art form draws upon cultural nostalgia for the kitsch of burlesque striptease that was performed in theatres, and gentleman's clubs from the 1920s-60s. Through the use of comedic exaggeration and hyperbolic gender presentation, burlesque seeks to undermine conventional notions of femininity, and deconstruct them. The author's performance piece also sought to engage with the energetic relationship between the audience and the burlesque performer's reciprocal gaze; and neoburlesque as a genre of carnivalesque spectacle. As an integration of live performance, projected video, and photography, Fishnets & Desire created a space in which the audience simultaneously experienced the feeling of being on stage, as well as actively watched (and thus, participating in) a burlesque striptease.