Speaking Dress represents the skin of the body as well as, metaphorically, the various orifices and holes we have in our bodies. It is not just our mouth that speaks. In different ways our eyes, ears, nipples, sexual organs, etc. all emit various essences of the body. They are instruments within a dialogue between the inner and outer world.
The dress, with a 20 foot train, is worn by a performer who also has some of her senses extended outward and some muted or sheathed. Her eyes are veiled by two fabric extensions (“vision catchers”) that fall in a long trail downwards, covering her eyes as well as representing visions stretching outwards.
During the course of this ten minutes performance, we (myself and one American plus six French performers) slowly and gently remove and reveal elements written over and over with the text of the poem The “Soul Has Bandaged Moments”, by the 19th Century American poet Emily Dickinson. Additional text is by Ms. Dill.
Throughout, there is also a sound element: an original soundscape recorded on audiotape compiled by Ed Robbins. The accompaniment is a layering of sounds, an interweaving of voices female and male, American and French. We hear them whispering, speaking, keening, singing, in unison and alone, layered and altered. They are reciting the same poem as the one written over and over on the dress and ribbons and gloves. As on the dress, the words of the poem are both intelligible and not, exposed and hidden. There is a 14 minute performance DVD.