LULU XX: a conversation with WaxFactory (2018)
LULU XX: Spectacular Legacies and Futures
A conversation with WaxFactory, moderated by Erika Rundle
At the beginning of the twentieth century, German playwright Frank Wedekind imagined Lulu as an ambiguous and irresistible heroine who embodied the complexities of a changing social landscape with sexual identity and power at its center.
At the end of the twentieth century – in 1999 – having just co-founded WaxFactory, Ivan Talijancic and Erika Latta turned their attention to this elusive and puzzling figure. Their production, inspired by Wedekind’s 1895 drama as well as G.W. Pabst’s 1929 film and Alban Berg’s 1935 opera, challenged the idolatry and misogyny of the male gaze in the artistic representation of women, exposing its conflicting tendencies. In WaxFactory’s performance, scene after scene, Lulu (performed by Latta) morphs her way through a multitude of age-old archetypes, methodically dismantling and exorcising them, one at a time.
Their first formal collaboration, the work premiered and toured overseas, inaugurating their reputation as a company invested in interrogating the nature of gender, power, and performance. In 2019, WaxFactory will celebrate its twentieth anniversary by returning to their original production with new eyes. Inspired by the momentum of feminist protest, Talijancic and Latta revisit their unapologetic and unrelenting heroine, asking new questions about agency, representation, and violence in the contemporary world.
In conversation with Talijancic and Latta, Erika Rundle will offer an overview of Lulu and her legacies—including Waxfactory’s first production back in 1999—and lead us in imagining the lingering problems and liberating possibilities Lulu offers today’s audiences, inviting Waxfactory’s founders to discuss their own visions for reimagining Wedekind’s tale in the 21stcentury.
Erika Rundle is an associate professor of theatre arts and gender studies at Mount Holyoke College. She specializes in dramatic theory, performance studies, translation, and critical animal studies. Her articles and reviews have been published in TDR, PAJ,Theater, Theatre Journal, and the Eugene O’Neill Review, as well as numerous anthologies—most recently Animal Acts: Performing Species Todayand Reading Contemporary Performance: Theatricality Across Genres. Her translation of Marie Ndiaye’s Hildawas performed off-Broadway as part of the Act French festival, and at regional theatres.
This event is part of WAXFACTORY XX: 20 years of WaxFactory
conversation with | Ivan Talijancic, Erika Latta
moderated by | Prof. Erika Rundle