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  • Porco Morto
  • Lee Breuer (bio)

A Porco Morto Prolegomena

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Figure 1.

Ponzi Porco PhD, from Porco Morto, a Mabou Mines production, first performed in Studio ToRoNaDa at P.S. 122, presented by Mark Russell's Under the Radar festival 2009. Text and direction by Lee Breuer; puppetry direction and design by Jessica Scott. (Photo © Tom LeGoff)

I know of no thinking person who does not, at heart, believe —when the miasma of free will is blown asunder, when the hubris of an existential essence is, in the court of the soul, revealed as a perjury —does not at heart believe they are a puppet. Whether the rods or strings are God-manipulated, the fates pulling on their woven strands, or marionetted by our political manipulators, patriarchs, fascists, the liberal press —I know of no thinking person who, at heart, believes they are the actor acting. No, they believe they are just the "talent". . . re-acting. Myriad are the string-pullers, the button-pushers, (genetic artifacts all), take love . . .

Porco Morto is a wee blip on the tract of an enormous performance poem called La Divina Caricatura, which, at its projected 24-hour running time, would outlast Peter Stein's Faust and has as much chance of getting picked up as a turd at Tiffany's. La Divina Caricatura is about love. In lieu of Dante's spiritual horniness for Beatrice, we have the love of dog for man, a vision of the inferno as a doghouse rather than a dollhouse, the love of Porco, an avant-garde pig, for a tabloid, the New York Times, a. k.a. my mother. That swine will fuck anything for a good review.

This "Caricatura," this feature-length animation of canto-comics, assumes, as the cow Sri Moo Parahamsa the acting guru puts it, "One's deconstructed soul is one's cartoon." Puppets emerged from costumes and masks until, no longer "worn" by their animators, they were held "at arms length." But whether as Gods to be danced or dolls to be puppeteered, they are still Holy manifestations. I think it fitting that they become "performing souls." Gods were always the puppets manipulated by their worshipers. It's a con job that our theologians have proclaimed it the other way around. As postmodern deconstructionists like to put it: To say "I'm a puppet" is just another way of saying "I'm alive." [End Page 151]


Porco Morto, Part 11 of Mabou Mines' Pataphysics Penyeach, was first performed in Studio ToRoNaDa at P.S. 122, presented by Mark Russell's Under the Radar festival 2009. It will reopen at Jim Nicola's New York Theater Workshop on 9 January 2010.

Text and Direction Lee Breuer
Composer Jay Ansill
Puppetry Direction
and Design Jessica Scott
Lighting Design Jason Boyd
Sound Design Ken Travis
Video Design Eamonn Farrell
Costume Design Meganne George
Technical Director Christine Parker
Assistant Technical
Director Michael Kerns
Stage Manager Casey Llewellen
Assistant Stage Manager Emily Wallen
Sound Operator Benjamin Furiga
Production Assistant Sade Namei
Benedicte Byline Hare Greg Mehrten
Ponzi Porco PhD
   (voice) Greg Mehrten
   (master puppeteer) Jessica Scott
   (puppeteer) Patricia Duran
   (puppeteer) Amanda Villalobos
The New York Times Jessica Weinstein
Sri Moo Parahamsa Ruth Maleczech
(voice, recorded)
Harp and Violin Jay Ansill

(A memorial service for Ponzi Porco PhD, the avantgarde swine. Stage right, a small coffin and flowers utilized as a lectern. Upstage center, a movie screen upon which is projected a memorial documentary on Porco, its life and work. Except for the Sri Moo animated sequence, all the dialogue of "Porco Morto, The Movie" is delivered live as a voiceover to the film.

Porco Morto, the Movie

Onscreen, in close profile, we see Michael Feingold reading the names of deceased theatre personalities at the 2008 Obie Awards. Benedicte Byline Hare quotes Feingold's words over the image: "Harold Pinter, Eartha Kitt, and last but not least, Ponzi Porco PhD." No attempt is made to lip-synch or imitate his voice.

On the screen, a replica of a New York Times front-page headline and lead article: PORCO MORTO.



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pp. 151-162
Launched on MUSE
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