Dummy (10 min)

Premiered April 9-10, 16-17, 23-25, 1999 at Dixon Place, NYC
Performers: Cathy Weis and Scott Heron

 

Performers: Weis, (Dummy) Weis<br>Photo: Richard Termine Performers: Weis, (Dummy) Weis<br>Photo: Richard Termine Performers: Weis, (Dummy) Weis<br>Photo: Richard Termine Performers: Weis, (Dummy) Weis<br>Photo: Richard Termine Performers: Weis, (Dummy) Weis<br>Photo: Richard Termine Performers: Weis, (Dummy) Weis<br>Photo: Richard Termine

In this piece, Weis portrays a ventriloquist whose dummy is a version of herself. The puppet’s body is constructed by Alessandra Nichols; Weis handles it in classic ventriloquist fashion. But rather than a traditional wooden head, Dummy’s head is a tv monitor, which plays a recorded close-up image of Weis’ face.

Weis and Dummy’s dialogue was scripted by Jim Neu.  The subtext of the discussion is the relationship between technology and the human body.

A sample of the dialogue:

DUMMY                ……….don’t be reluctant to touch my body.

CATHY                  Excuse me?

DUMMY                Isn’t that what people with bodies say?

CATHY                 Well, not to just anybody.

DUMMY                You don’t feel like just anybody to me. Some people have a problem with sentient media.

CATHY                 People aren’t used to acting this way with a television. It’s usually much more one sided.

DUMMY                I’m so tired of the looks I get. You haven’t lived until some boob sits in front of you and gives you the mother of blank stares.

CATHY                 Have you been…..uh……sentient long?

DUMMY                Since about the time the concept of interactive media became popular. It’s a slippery slope. It was only a matter of time before we started interacting back.

 

Performance history:
 
Dixon Place, NYC (1999 – premiere)
The Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA (1999)
Franklin Furnace, NYC/Parsons School of Design, NYC (2000)
Scripps College, OR (2001)
Colorado College, CO (2001)
Temple University, PA (2001)