Madame Ovary

world premiere May 15-19 at The Flea Theater

 Woodcut print by Linda Mason

Woodcut print by Linda Mason

With empathy, humor and badass rocker panache, Oberfelder celebrates a woman’s power in the world.  A devised dance theater work, Madame Ovary premieres at the Flea Theater May 15-19, 2019. Directed and choreographed by Jody Oberfelder, Madame Ovary dives deep into women’s lives, and how one’s body is a site for agency, intuition, and birth, as well as a limiting space, reducing gender identity to genitalia.   With music by composer Missy Mazzoli, lighting by Kathy Kaufmann,  Lexy Ho-Ti, props design, Ameyda Benyon, sound design, and Jessica Applebaum will dramaturg.  Our illustrious cast includes seven actor/singer/dancers, Madame Ovary with an illustrious cast: Emily Giovine, Mary Madsen, Lou Mandolini, Nubian Néné, Maya Orchin,  Mei Yamanaka, and Elizabeth Hart.

Oberfelder and her collaborators cross-reference Flaubert’s Madame Bovary’s story of Emma Bovary’s corseted life amid 19th Century social constructions with where we are now at the height of the  #metoo movement.  

Madame Ovary, though non-narrative, is told in an arc with layers coming in and out of focus, weaving together story and contexts. The movement vocabulary is strong, agile, athletic, physical, and sentient. Oberfelder’s choreography includes a range of styles; She known for her expressive and imaginative dance language and concept-driven pieces.

Madame Ovary’s research and development begins with conversations. Two performers, as social surveyors, sporting bright pink sweatshirts with Madame Ovary insignias, create public interventions, by asking these passerby questions, "How does your body define you?” “What is considered male and female, and is there a binary?” leading them to talk about gender, gender politics, age, ovaries.  These words, recorded, will weave into the sound score by composer Missy Mazzoli, with whom we have received the prestigious New Music USA grant.