RITZY CHEESY GUILTY BABY
NO FACE PERFORMANCE GROUP / JAIME MASEDA, MARK MCCLOUGHAN & SPENCER SHERIDAN
No Face Performance Group / Jaime Maseda, Mark McCloughan & Spencer Sheridan
“RITZY CHEESY GUILTY BABY” is a multimedia performance based on Hey, What About Me?, a 1987 musical film made to help young children deal with the emotional upheaval of having a new sibling in the home. During the piece, three performers were seated in front of microphones. Selected clips from the film were played, many of them featuring small children talking about their anxieties and the ways they dealt with them. At three instances during these clips, the video began to loop and distort, eventually fading into black. At this point, a performer began a monologue narrating the experience of one of the children featured in the film. The aim of these monologues was not to be poetic, or even interesting, necessarily, but to explore the linguistic and cognitive frameworks a young child might use to express her feelings about this situation. Voice modulation was used to strip the speech of familiar inflections and vocal cues, inviting the audience to consider the language and logic of a child facing a major reorganization of her world.
The transitions between the bright, happy, concise film clips and the darker, more conflicted monologues were structured as gradual crossfades, suggesting an expansive field of fears and anxieties beneath the anodyne world presented in the film. The piece ended with the performers singing a song that combined the upbeat 1980s pop music of the film with lyrics drawn from the aforementioned monologues, an attempt to insert a child’s thoughts and words into a form designed by adults to simplify the complex reality of childhood experience.
While the performance version of “RITZY CHEESY GUILTY BABY” was performed only once, it was adapted for video and can be viewed at nofaceperformance.org.