Annata, Not a Real Drag Show

Annata is a performance project inspired by the culture of drag. Five female artists commit themselves to the act of “dragging up” and “putting on a drag show”, addressing and reclaiming the loss from their formative years. Beneath their forever heavily painted faces and multifarious gigs are their suppressed desires and ineffable anxieties. Not knowing how and why, they are stuck in the same bedroom and trapped in the cycle of perpetual performance. Seemingly harmonious, competition cooks, isolation lurks, jealousy violates – they each have their own struggle in this shared fate of enclosure. But upon discovering how they have been made into subjects for gaze by unknown forces, their frustration eventually explodes jointly in the most extreme way: committing a spectacular group suicide. But is it part of the show and the fabricated reality again?

In June 2019, Annata’s “drag personas” put on shows inside their shared home space, and for the next part of the project, they are going on the road. Oblivious of where they are heading or what to do with life, they are again stuck on the road together.

Behind the drag personas of Annata are the individuals of the all-female Chinese theatre ensemble _ao_ao_ing. During the making of Annata, using autobiographic materials, they do not hesitate in dissecting their own life experience as young women and as Chinese but strongly influenced by Western cultural icons. They searched deep into their personal and perhaps collective history, accessing their subconsciousness and hidden desires. In a way, Annata is a metaphor for the state of the ensemble, a group that lives and creates together in their own space in a city that is commercial, stimulating, voyeuristic and easily forgetful. Annata envelopes a dream-like world of performativity, of spectatorship and of censorship that they actually deals with in their professional and daily life.

What do you see when you see Annata? A group of young women compensating for what was deprived of them unknowingly? A group of anarchists failing in their own parties? Some sort of togetherness that liberates, celebrates or imprisons? What might be the implication of private gathering and togetherness on a personal level, in a world where “SOLIDARITY” is brandished in capital letters across public sphere and throughout propaganda? What exactly is a genuine act of solidarity?

After all these questions, what do you see when you see us?



Ensemble Members | Eva LOU, Beautymoon XIAO, LIN Cuixi, July YANG, Selena LU, ZHANG Yuan
Style Consultant | Layla Saito

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