When mental instability is spread across the front covers of Heat and Hello, it’s easy to forget that a real human lies being behind the mask of celebrity. Deconstructing the desire to be famous – and the pleasures and pitfalls it can bring – Venizke looks beyond the façade to the person within.
Co-created by director Lies Pauwels and choreographer Ben Benaouisse the show uses music by Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse among others to explore the duality of public figures. ‘We chose stars that are damaged,’ explains Pauwels. ‘Because, to quote Marilyn Monroe, “when you are famous every weakness is exaggerated”. So through these icons we can touch everybody’s confusion and fragility.’
Each performer in Venizke has a look-a-like, to depict stars and those who wish to emulate them. The show also uses a miniature Eiffel Tower to get its message across. ‘It’s an iconic building,’ says Pauwels. ‘So we explore the notion of real and fake – is imitation a tasteless shadow of reality or a better version than the original? The Tower also has a suicidal history.’
Rather than use a narrative for the audience to follow, Pauwels and Benaouisse leave it up to us to respond to their work on a personal level. ‘We hope that our work can be interpreted in many ways,’ says Pauwels. ‘And that everyone can find their own connection with the piece. We don’t tell a story – we want the audience to understand in an emotional, not rational, way.’
Tramway, Glasgow, Thu 16–Sat 18 Apr