Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman
- Underbelly Festival, Southbank, London, Jun 2017
- Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Two, Edinburgh, Aug–May 2017
‘Menstrual mystery tour….delightfully po-faced and deliciously tongue-in-cheek’ ★★★★ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, December 2016
A provocative, rigorously researched, untamed romp through Dr Marisa Carnesky’s PHD research into the importance of celebrating the symbolic and cultural power of menstruation.Alongside a cast of extraordinary women from UK’s alt-cabaret and live art scene, Carnesky reinvents menstrual rituals for a new era drawing on the hidden power of a forgotten matriarchal past. This eclectic group of women met regularly on Dark Moons – the birth of the birth of the new moon – over many months to research the lore of menstruation, to enact ritual, and to create performance. The resulting research is presented by Dr Carnesky, who uses the form of a performance-lecture that is both serious and tongue-in-cheek at one and the same time, interspersed with contemporary sideshow vignettes that celebrate and subterfuge the popular theatre, circus and cabaret traditions of the show-woman making a spectacle of herself.
This show sees Marisa continuing in her lifelong quest to use sideshow, magic and popular entertainment forms to explore serious subjects. Here, not only menstruation and menstrual rights but also female body shame, what it means to be ‘female’, issues around fertility, and the lost ancient herstories are scrutinised, politicised & reclaimed. Delivered with wry humour, revolutionary politics and spectacular performances including breathtaking reworks of traditional magic illusions, sword swallowing, hair hanging, and expressionist cabaret, this unique show has attracted public, personal & professional praise since the very first performance.
June and Augist renditions include performed rituals from collaborating artists Fancy Chance, Rhyannon Styles, MisSa Blue, H Plewis and Nao Nagai. Original cast included Molly Beth Morossa and Priya Mistry.
Audience excitement around the first run of this show built quickly, with the last week completely selling out – Carnesky is still receiving emails thanking them for putting on this brave new work.
Marisa Carnesky's new performance is a menstrual blood-soaked wonder. It has psychic surgery, levitation, bodily bisection, spontaneous bleeding, baptisms on a beach, and other exciting acts of magic and myth - towards a future of menstrual anarchy!
I have NEVER seen anything like it ... and I am still telling friends and family the tales of lipstick, vaginas and menstrual jelly!
‘I went to see the show yesterday, and just wanted to say it was truly incredible, inspiring and wonderful. Thank you all so much.’
‘I absolutely loved it. best thing I have seen in ages and ages and Marisa, Sula and H made me weep.’
‘We saw your show… and my wife and I both got our periods THAT NIGHT, even though we weren't due on for a week and we NEVER get ours at the same time (which is good because at least one of us needs to be mentally stable) Genuinely magic. ’
‘Belated congrats to @CarneskyProds fantastic #BleedingWomen @sohotheatre last week - unlike any performance I've ever seen #WOMEEEN’
‘Abso-bloody-lutely loved @carneskyprods Incredible Bleeding Woman. Spellbinding work. Most honest art I have seen in age.’
‘Menstrual mystery tour….delightfully po-faced and deliciously tongue-in-cheek’★★★★
‘It’s great to see this usually taboo subject bursting onstage in all its bloody glory’
‘There is much that is wonderful about Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman – its wisdom, its celebration of fierce women, its worship of Kali and Medusa, snakes and dragons – but perhaps the most wonderful is its insistence that we “are all connected, all menstruate”’
‘These women are bloody brilliant! See the show and join them!’
Written and conceived by Marisa Carnesky
Menstrual rituals created and performed by:
Nao Nagai; Fancy Chance; MisSa Blue; H Plewis; Rhyannon Styles; Priya Mistry and Molly Beth Morossa
- Dramaturg – Kira O’Reilly
- Associate Director – Florence Peake
- Lighting Designer – Marty Langthorne
- Project Manager – Natacha Poledica
- Lighting and Technical Assistance – Nao Nagai
- Costume Designer – Claire Ashley
- Photographer – Sarah Ainslie
- Film – Nao Nagai
- Magic Consultant – Tom Cassani
- Producer – Flora Herberich (Underbelly Festival, Edinburgh Fringe)
- Producer – Lara Clifton (R&D, Soho Theatre)
- Associate Producer – Dicky Eton
- Stage Manager – Claudia Palazzo (Underbelly Festival)
- Stage Manager – Amy Ridler (Edinburgh Fringe)
With help from:
- Dr Jo Machon
- Dr Camilla Power
- Professor Chris Knight
- Professor van den Akker
- Amy Ridler
- Arts Council England
- The National Theatre Studios
- Middlesex University
- Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club
- Soho Estates
- Soho Theatre
- Crying Out Loud