You know, people say everything happens for a reason. Well, that’s just a dreadful thing to say, I think, a stupid thing to say… And people say “why would this happen to you?” And I say “why wouldn’t it happen to me?” Because nobody’s special, nobody is… Good things happen to good people… And bad people… And bad things happen to everybody…
(Leonie Hughes, Nurse, Mother, Grandmother, Aunty of Olympia Bukkakis)
For ›A Touch of the Other‹ Olympia Bukkakis draws on her background as a drag artist to explore the potential of this kind of performance to engage with the lived experiences and knowledges of women. The differences and overlaps between Bukkakis’ embodied existence as a trans drag performer and those of her cis female relatives from a white working class family in New Zealand are put into conversation with the traditional relationship between drag performance and the women that it ‘imitates’. In doing so she engages critically with the established tradition within drag performance of portraying working class women’s speech and mannerisms. Olympia Bukkakis takes feminised labour as a site where (drag) performers and working women may find commonalities that can contribute to a solidarity that transgresses sexual, gender and generational difference.
Queen of the Heavens and of the Earth, Empress of Despair, and Architect of Your Eternal Suffering, Olympia Bukkakis began performing while completing a BA in social theory at Melbourne University in Australia and kick-started the local alternative drag scene with her party Pandora’s Box. She has collaborated with Australian queer theatre company Sisters Grimm on a number of projects including Summertime in the Garden of Eden.
Since moving to Berlin in 2012, she has organised, curated, and moderated various queer performance nights including ›Get Fucked‹, ›Fancy‹ and ›Apocalypse Tonight‹. Since 2015 she has organised and hosted ›Queens Against Borders‹, a performance event in solidarity with trans and queer refugees. In recent years she has begun to perform in contemporary dance and performance contexts, performing in Jeremy Wade’s Between Sirens and Human Resources and in 2019 she completed a Masters in Solo Dance Authorship at the Inter-University Centre for Dance (HZT) in Berlin with her graduation piece ›Tales From a State of Shemergency‹.
CONCEPT, PERFORMANCE, CHOREOGRAPHY Olympia Bukkakis
DRAMATURGY Allison Wiltshire
SET, VIDEO Camille Lacadee
LIGHT Maika Knoblich
SOUND Lyra Pramuk
COSTUME Jay Barry Matthews
PRODUCTION Lisa Gehring
PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE Paul Niedermeyer
CHOREOGRAPHIC ASSISTANCE Am Ertl TEXT Mindy Grumley, Daisy Grumley, Leonie Hughes, Tracey Hughes
Originally performed as part of the Risk & Resilience festival at Sophiensaele, Berlin.
Guest performance made possible by the NPN-Gastspielförderung Tanz with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Ministries of Culture and the Arts of the Federal States.