Aurora Stewart de Pena on Me Talking to Myself in the Future

Marie Brassard’s a bit quiet, I have to lean in.

She’s small, wearing a tight black dress. She speaks in a rhythm. She talks about sea creatures with ears, conceited starfish, and how music was made. The film that plays behind her rolls along, rarely ever representing a recognizable shape. It’s a mix of child brain, creation myth and dream logic.

It’s validating when artists use dream logic in work we watch while awake. We spend so much time dreaming, those dream experiences are intense, it’s always nice to see dreams get some recognition by the eyes-open set.

It’s an autobiographical piece, and I’m relieved to discover there’s no narrative. I mean, sure, yeah, a person could go ahead and try to stitch events into some kind of a cohesive I don’t know, but really, there’s no narrative, which feels good to me right now.

My life (maybe yours, too) is a fluid and random assortment of conversations, funerals, hand-jobs, spaghetti, the cat, showers, sweaty nightmares, and whatever the second cheapest wine on the menu is. Yet I try to sort it into a story because it gives my life meaning. Why else would I grieve, fight, or love? Well love, I can’t help it, and grief is the by-product of love. But why on earth would I fight? All I do at the end is die, probably alone.  An auto-biography is a tough thing.

If these are the events in my life:


I can connect them to make a story this way:

Grid sad

Or this way:

Grid Happy

Or a lot other ways that are all true, depending on what feels important when I’m threading everything together.

I believe so much in randomness and chaos. To me, the creation of a life story is a flashlight at the bottom of the ocean. But still, I guess because I’m a product of my culture, I look for meaning.

So when Marie Brassard talks about being in the pitch black, holding her hand up in front of her face, not being able to see it and questioning whether or not she exists, it’s painful and familiar. Given no evidence of our own existence, it stops. Worse than stops, it doesn’t matter. I’m not an individual, this is not my story, I don’t exist. I’m part of a grand throbbing mechanism that’s neither good or bad, that just is. It strips away morality, guilt, function and narrative.

The day after the show, my comfort in the big throbbing mechanism was re-affirmed. Somewhere in the mulch of dreams, of common experiences, of deaths, loss, and the heart swell of love, we’re together. We’re together with all the earthworms, algae and the dust that makes the universe. It’s meaningless, but it’s connected.

We’re all the same thing, and it’s huge. Bigger than we know how to imagine. There will be peace.

That’s my reaction to Marie Brassard’s show.

– – – – – – – – – –

Me Talking to Myself in the Future is on stage at Buddies March 26 – April 6, 2014. Click here for tickets and info.

The image at the tope of the article of Me Talking to Myself in the Future is by Nurith Wagner-Strauss.


Aurora Stewart de Pena

Aurora Stewart de Pena is in residence at Buddies as one half of Birdtown and Swanville (the other half is Nika Mistruzzi). You can follow her on twitter at @aurorahhh

Read all posts by Aurora Stewart de Pena

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