This is a solo work that Thea Little honed and performed for more than a year culminating at the Performance Mix Festival 31 in June of 2017. In Successful, Little, the solo performer, grapples with her obsessive ambition and competition for success in a satirical way through repetitive effort and subsequent failure. She emerges out of a triangle structure, built by visual artist Niki Singleton, and attempts mighty jumps, balancing on her tippy toes, intricate step work in a looping pattern, and persistent runs up the structure only to succumb to gravity each time. Within the work, Little’s triangular plinth is a symbol of Patriarchal power that offers success, but mainly is a hindrance to her goals. Throughout, Little relates to the viewers about busy schedules, prioritizing, and social climbing while humorously referencing texting and phone alerts. When Little mischievously rips off a small triangle section velcro-ed to the main sculpture and spins with it on her head like a trophy, she’s expressing elation upon having met a very important person such as a curator or press person or someone that could help her with her career. Successful deals with female ambition and the drive for success in a male-dominated professional world. Little takes on five characters each married to a vowel sound which amounts to a menacing melody referencing a Dictatorial environment. The work touches on Patriarchal gender expectations with a pathetic character ingratiatingly repeating “Special” to a woman in contrast to a gruff “Successful!” delivered to a man. Successful links sexism and Fascism in the end with Nazi-like gesturing and asks questions about present-day America and the future for women in this country.
Choreographed, Written, Composed and Performed by Thea Little
Performance Mix Festival 31 at University Settlement, June 2017
Set Design: Niki Singleton
Sound Manipulation: Morgan Roddick
Photos: Phil Sheridan