Before entering the audience space to see Mermaid Show for the first time:
The audience is seated around the stage in a rectangle shape. There are two rows on each side with gangways in the middle and on the edges. It is possible to see the show standing behind. The stage space is marked with a pink tape. There is a blue inflatable rectangle swimming-pool full of water and a woman with long hair, bare breasts and mermaid’s tail. Her tale is immersed into the water and upper-body leans back to the edge of the pool. Three men in sailor suits sit on the ground on the sides of the pool. The mermaid looks at straight forward.
For simplification of guiding the spectator and according to the dramaturgy of the piece, it is assumed that the front of the stage is the left profile of the mermaid.
On the left side of the stage is a sand hill with some toy items and a pink bath towel with the rubber octopus arms aside.
Please mind that sound-wise there is no difference in choosing a spot to watch the performance. Sound pressure may momentarily exceed 100 dB which is equivalent to a chain saw, speeding express train and farm tractor. All the full-length pop songs such as Everytime by Britney Spears, Cold as Ice by Foreigner, Firework by Katy Perry and Sam Cooke’s You Were Made for Me are sang/screamed to the microphone along with the sound records.
Please mind if you are seated facing the front of the stage you get a good view on a scene “Farewell with a Fellow”. One of the sailors with a cut in his pans just long enough to see his bare buttocks makes up an image of a dead body on the ground with a wig, shirt and pants. He pronounces a speech of respect to his imaginary fellow. Standing on their knees other two sailors listen in the mourning mood. One of them takes his turn expressing his gay love to the dead fellow. Another one interrupts by reading the last letter of a suicide, obviously of the dead fellow.
Please mind the front row will let you best of all enjoy the dance which follows afterwards. To a pop whining song the sailors make the most ridiculous of themselves: awkwardly moving in the pool, swinging arms with rubber octopus limbs on the fingers and always keeping the pathetic faces of a big drama.
Please mind that the seats in the back side of the stage are the worst to see the mermaid’s whole figure when she first starts getting out of the pool. This is the point when the real show starts. She raises her big, incredibly realistic, silvery tail and splashes it back to the pool.
Please mind closer you are seated to the pool more splashes you get. In another dance scene all three sailors unceremoniously splash the water all around the space. It is strongly recommended not to put belongings on the floor.
Please mind that being seated in the first rows of the front and left sides you might be closely approached and even directly addressed and maybe scared by the mermaid. She moves on her hands and human knees, stops by a random spectator and looks straight in the eyes. Two sailors stay close by her sides. The third one provides the light on them. Mermaid’s gaze with reptilian contact lenses is as inhuman as her tail. She touches the person and sings with a hypnotizing voice: “Come swim with me…be my sailor…” One of her fellows produces a bird-like sound every time she finishes her verse.
Please mind if you take a place close to the left back corner of the stage you might get spit with raw fish slices. She wildly gnaws the fish and spits bites of it out to the audience. Please mind that you can leave your spot to escape from the fish. Please mind that the whole space starts stinking of the fish afterwards and there is no chance to escape it.
Please mind that the seats close to the front left corner of the stage give the best view of a played story by all the show heroes with the toy items on the sand hill. Please mind that at some point one sailor takes pictures of the action and the people in the audience as well. Please mind that the show is not over yet when the sailors carry the mermaid out of the performance space. There comes a chance to get a Polaroid picture with the mermaid for 2 euros and buy some nice accessories with mermaid theme.
Please mind that if you happen to sit in the front first row, right in the middle as you usually like, and if you get only one rain coat together with your nice fellow do not hesitate to share it by just covering the body. While sharing the rain coat you will laugh together at all the weirdness and ridiculousness of the show, you will be entirely splashed with water together, you will share the pumping adrenaline when such majestic creature of the see as the mermaid starts erupting into action. And you will feel much safer under this rain coat shared with your nice fellow when all of the sudden the mermaid comes close to you and looks straight in your eyes with her inhuman gaze, when she puts her hand on your knee and sings to you: “Come swim with me…be my sailor….come swim with me…be my sailor…”
Writer is a dancer who tries out different ways of viewing and reviewing dance.
Mermaid Show by Ann Liv Young (2011)
Performed by: Ann Liv Young, Michael A. Guerrero, Stiven Luka & Andrew Whipple
Set design, lighting design & producer: Ann Liv Young
Costumes: Ann Liv Young & The Mertailor
Sound design: Ann Liv Young & Michael A. Guerrero
Photos: Michael A. Guerrero
Co-production by: In Transit Festival (Berlin, Germany), Black Box Theater (Oslo, Norway) & Avant Garden (Trondheim, Norway)