You, Dear Doctor, Are My Only Rescue!

April 17, 2019

You, Dear Doctor, Are My Only Rescue!, an epistolary performance co-produced by CRUSEV’s Polish and UK teams, was presented on April 17 at Scala Cinema in Brno, Czech Republic. Programmed by Katerina Lisková of Masaryk University, the performance involved the transcribing, reading, and recirculating letters written to Socialist era Polish sexologists in the original Polish and in English and Czech translation. 

Performer Anne Tuckova describes her experience of the Brno staging of You, Dear Doctor, Are My Only Rescue!: “…there were people who came specifically for the performance, and then there were also people coming and going tangential or separate from the performance, either going into the theatre to see a film or going to the bar to get a drink, and the bathroom door on the mezzanine really needs some oil! A bit of hub-bub and I thought it would be distracting. But … once we sat down to write the letters and read, all those things disappeared. And I thought — this is really a perfect metaphor for the queer experience, really much more than if it had been in a quiet room. Because we’re in the world, and the world goes on around us, and at the same time we’re part of the world. And sometimes the world ignores us — just running about its daily business. And sometimes it stops and stares. This is exactly what happened in this performance and I thought it was perfect. But what was also interesting is that once we started writing and reading, we were so absorbed in what we were doing that it really seemed as if each of us had a bubble around us, that we were individually very vulnerable (and more vulnerable for being exposed like that) and yet… in those moments of focus, that world beyond that bubble almost didn’t exist. I felt that this was a perfect echo of the text of the letters. The writers in those letters (and by extension, those of us who were re-writing and reading the letters) were living in a world that ignored them, that viewed them as curiosities, or something in between that, but the writers were venturing out past their own vulnerabilities into that space where they didn’t quite belong and making a space for themselves. And this was what we did as well. From this perspective, it seemed to me that our performance, our intervention, was a physical manifestation of the letters in a way that — had we been in a quiet, enclosed, art-designated space, would not have been as powerful. Having spoken to some people who were observing the performance, it seems they felt the same way — that we were vulnerable, that they needed to pay close attention to us and protect us with their attention, in some way.” 

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