Emelie Markgren on DEAD

“DEAD by The Beauty and the Beast”  by Amanda Apetrea and Halla Òlafsdóttir invites us to a room of black silky walls, chairs, funeral candles and tables with white roses. Like a congregation enters its worship, the spectators enters into an ironic playful world of dark feminine hardcore. When the performance began, the audience moved their heads crosswise, to make sure they would not miss anything that was going on on the stage floor. The actors interacted kittenish and fiercely with the observer. I perceived the interplay in the dark but still humorous ambience. The silhouettes of the spectators heads against the spotlights looked like contours of gravestones on a cemetery. A living cemetery filled with souls that want to take part in the sermon. For a second, I experienced the timeless and recurring human will in accessing the spiritual answers of auspiciousness and the religious forgiveness of sins, everyone wants to see, everyone wants to know the answers. It intertwined to a playful game in a ritual approach to femininity.


The players used tongues, gutsy movements, blood, ironic horror and physical games. High, rough and pounding sound. In the middle of the piece including and excluding words were addressed straight to the spectators. The performers really seemed to be enjoying themselves.


Suddenly they stood in a shaking position of ecstasy or human birth. It made me think of Botticelli’s “The birth of Venus” (1486). Their movements put forward feminine biology and how extremely simple and straightforward it may be. This historical connection made me think; how much we ever try to play in context, we can not escape the fact that we are completely evolutionary animal beings in a very natural environment, whatever we do. The movements could be regarded as something extraordinary, but at the same time they seemed rather natural and primitive.


To me, DEAD by Beauty and the Beast, tells about the conspicuousness of the bestial human and the thinking soul. I enjoyed the entire image becoming some kind of historic doomsday irony in a modern aggressive subculture. I think that the cliché of combining roses, wine, monsters and blood worked in this context because of the rough bestiality. For me the same powerful and enjoyable message was told over and over again.

But I am still curious, is the message as obvious as it seems?


Emelie Markgren