MONSTER SHOW Comes to Camden People's Theatre in October

Performances run 31st October – 3rd November.

By: Sep. 26, 2023
MONSTER SHOW Comes to Camden People's Theatre in October

Championing radical bodies and exploring the trans narrative, Hester-Stefan Chillingworth stands on stage hidden deep inside a latex Frankenstein’s Monster costume and performs a solo re-dubbing of the entire audio score of the 1931 film Frankenstein. Opening on Halloween, Monster Show considers the potential violence in how we read each other’s bodies, questioning why we crave so much to know what people look like to decide how we feel about them.

Blending live art, ridiculous spectacle, film, and the exertion of performing an impossible audio score, artist Hester-Stefan Chillingworth investigates what our bodies declare and mis-declare for us, through the lens of gender. Based on a story that famously questions ‘who is the monster’, Monster Show is a powerful consideration of how surgically constructed bodies are perceived as monstrous.

Hester-Stefan Chillingworth will also be conducting post show talks, discussing the making of Monster Show. On Wednesday 1st November, they will be joined by Cathy Naden from Forced Entertainment to talk about their experiences performing experimental work and on Thursday 2nd November, Hester-Stefan will speak to queer artist Nando Messias about the trans themes of the show.

Creator and performer, Hester-Stefan Chillingworth said “Monster Show is a wild ride. It’s completely impossible to accurately produce the whole soundtrack using just my voice, so the real meat of the show is in the audience being witness to this obsessive effort - they can’t see me but, because I’m mic’d up inside the costume, they can hear as I get more and more out of breath and worn out by the daft attempt. The humour is in the cracks and failures which happen, and happen differently, every single time I perform it. Sometimes something I do is miles off target, sometimes it’s hilarious by coincidence and other times things line up so perfectly it’s mind-blowing and joyful. I always try to use humour to get to difficult questions in my work, and in Monster Show it’s about the struggle of this unseen body to complete this ludicrous task, and the questions this throws up about the unseen labour that comes with existing in a marginalised body, or identity, in a mainstream world”.

Hester-Stefan Chillingworth is a trans and non-binary creator making performance work, installations, and texts in a playful interventionist style, playing with language, duration, mischief and confusion. Hester-Stefan creates work using mundane and functional materials that elevates the everyday while remaining accessible. Hester-Stefan is currently under commission as a Jerwood New Playwright at The Royal Court Theatre and they are a Fellow of the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre and an Associate Artist as Cambridge Junction. Monster Show is part 1 of The Extinction Trilogy, commissioned by Norwich Arts Centre, Colchester Arts Centre and Old Diorama Arts Centre. Originally co-commissioned by Cambridge Junction (with support from the Stobbs New ideas Fund) and Old Diorama Arts Centre. Additional support from LIFT and Arts Council England. Monster Show is the first instalment of the Extinction Trilogy, a series of shows exploring ways of deleting humans from performance, in order to make us think more about humanness.

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