A Touch of the Other

November 2020

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.

During a year of collective and personal trauma Olympia Bukkakis held 4 interviews with cisgender women in her family: her mother, two aunties and her little sister. They spoke about suffering, labour in and out of the home and perseverance. Olympia then worked with collaborators to develop performance material from these conversations, her own personal experiences and the objects and actions we engage with in everyday life.

For A Touch of the Other Olympia 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.

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.

Photography: Mayra Wallraff