Norma Jeane (2009)

Siljeholm/Christophersen/Meen Halsøy/Sømme Hammer

Norma Jeane is a collaboration between dancers / choreographers Helle Siljeholm and Sara Christophersen, visual artist Mari Meen Halsøy and sociologist Mari Sømme Hammer.

Norma Jeane has our personal experiences as a backdrop to discuss a universal theme. The performance is a reaction to how we experience being formed as women in today’s society. This being through tradition, upbringing, education, work life, social settings or the glorified and commercialised media world surrounding us. We wanted to create more awareness on why we (women) are seemingly carefree to uphold the current feminine aesthetic ideals and unwritten social laws/norms on how to behave and perform as a woman. What is threatening us? What do we lose if we don’t follow the rules of the game?

”In Norma Jeane the contemporary woman, and our highly ambivalent feelings towards her are staged and challenged through text, movement and dias projection. The result is a verbally powerful, visually seducing and not to say witty performance on an engaging socio-political theme. This is theatre, dance and intelligent political satire.”
Sunniva Steine, Teaterhuset Avant Garden, Trondheim, Norway

Norma Jeane is a tragicomic  ”chamber symphonetta” for three women, the Beautiful Dancer Sara, her instructor Meredith and the historical backdrop of Marilyn Monroe (projected by the use of text and photo on a light-wall behind them.)

The self-proclaimed front figure of the performance stages the truth of Simone de Beauvoir: One is not born a woman, but rather becomes one, in this case with the help of Meredith! Omniscient and loud, of Scottish decent, Meredith is using the silent and servile Beautiful Dancer Sara to illustrate ”The ideal woman” of today (read: the self-made woman) to her audience.  But as it appears not even the immaculately trained dancer is able to full fill the expectations of the ideal woman, alias Monroe. No matter the amount of plastic surgery one will never accomplish being woman enough, to say the least, not in the conventional and commercialised side-glance of Meredith.

Meredith’s final recognition of her own shortcomings paralleled to the ultimate “feminine ideals” pulls her down the gutter. The same gutter she once so lightly sprang and spread above. She deconstructs while her persona dissolves into the projections of Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps Meredith is Marilyn’s Scottish grandmother? Perhaps all three women are one flip side to each other? When Meredith finally surrenders, the Beautiful Dancer Sara enters to her rescue and carries the defeated alter ego off stage. This gives hope for new constructions of female gender in our post-Monroe’n era.”
Sidsel Pape, Dramaturg