Can we have a sneak peek of the script? What’s your favourite thing about Calgary? These are just two of the questions we asked Rita Bozi of Productive Obsession, which is our fourth group to perform in the program NEXT STAGE, with an amazing multidisciplinary work.

Describe your Performance 

For my performance My Fair Lady – The Punk Version I gathered 80 photographs and objects from my twenties in the 1980s (the period during which the story was set). We hooked a video camera up to a projector and focused it on a table, so that the audience sees each photo or object as I place it under the camera while telling the story. My director Ken Cameron describes in his blog post in this same space as object-theatre-meets-photo performance -meets-short-story; a methodology he’s dubbed “analogue digital.”

So in the spirit of found photographs, for this post I’ve paired some selections from the script with some of the photos we’re using. Hopefully this both gives you a flavour of what we’re up to, and entices you to see more.

“In 1985 I was an apprentice with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet by day and learning to be a punk by night. Or sort of a punk. Kinda New Wave.”

“I’ve been told that I look like Jodie Foster at least five hundred times since Taxi Driver came out in 1976, at least one hundred times since Hotel New Hampshire came out in 1984 and at least two hundred times since The Accused came out in 1988.”

“I had been so determined to resist him; he had never been what I thought of as ‘my type’, but now in one messy evening of intoxicated abandon I felt addicted to him, powerless to choose, unable to imagine how I would cope without him. What had become of me?”

“I was well beyond hunger but it didn’t matter. Like Marianne Faithful, I didn’t care for food much. I thought if I got tiny, people would be kinder to me.”

“I was relieved when Keith waved me over. On the way to the bar, I tried hard to ignore, “Corduroy Girl”.

“Give me two months,” Adam said. “I’ll turn her into an intellectual mine field. A baby Patti Smith. A proto-punk.”

“I watched them consummate the bet. I was so fucking high. My gut told me there was something sick going on. I was a project to one man and property to another.”

“I hated him and I needed him. My tears flowed easily. He was Sid to my Nancy and I was Marianne to his Mick. Actually that’s such bullshit, but it sounds poetic. The truth is he was my third class ticket out of what mess I was in.”

“My Fair Lady,” says Adam. “I’ve come to mold you into a new-wave punk, a bohemian art aficionado, an intellectual, and a free-love advocate. Where’s your tape player? I’m gonna play you some Captain Beefheart”

“Captain who?”

“When Adam plays me Patti Smith, I get infatuated with the punk priestess who’s come out of retirement to write another anthem. I want to crawl inside her. Be her. Write like her. I fantasize going back in time, dressing up in a purple slip dress and doing a photo shoot at the Chelsea Hotel with Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe.”

What inspired you to be an artist?

I was dancing with a soother in my mouth. It was not inspired. It was genetic. But since then I have been inspired and driven to create by witnessing Karen Kain, Gelsey Kirkland, Pina Bausch, Marie Chouinard, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramovich, Sook Yin Lee, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Robert LePage, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Cale, Lou Reed, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Haruki Murakami, Buck 65 and Hawklsey Workman.

What’s your favourite thing about Calgary?

People are friendly. I particularly love the city when it’s -24C and sunny with a huge dump of snow.

What’s your favourite song?

Christine by Siouxsie and The Banshees and Elegia by New Order.

What’s your secret indulgence?

Angelina Jolie, bone marrow and gristle and Wayfair.ca.

You can catch Rita Bozi in My Fair Lady – The Punk Version in the Studio at the GRAND from February 22 – 25. Thursday- Saturday evening performances are $20 and the Sunday matinee is Pay What You Can.