50 HEARTBREAKS (AND I'M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOUkraine)
Two-woman dance-theater show about heartbreak and Ukrainian history made in collaboration with Nadia Tarnawsky
“50 HEARTBREAKS… is the kind of performance that happens all the time in Seattle, but rarely with this expertise… EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SHOW IS GOOD.”
-Tom Mohrman, Wonder and Risk
excerpts from 50 HEARTBREAKS (AND I'M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOUkraine) by Nadia Tarnawsky & Jenna Bean Veatch
paintings by Susannah Anderson
Annex Theatre, Seattle, WA
The Old Firehouse, New Orleans Fringe Festival
Firehouse Performing Arts Center, Bellingham, WA
50 HEARTBREAKS weaved together a collage of kitschy dances set to 1960s breakup songs, mournful Ukrainian ballads sung live, delightful stop-action animation, old family photographs, gorgeous cardboard paintings by Susannah Anderson, and gruesome history lessons to tell Tarnawsky's family story, the dark tale of a family split apart in WWII Ukraine. It gave voice to a history that most Americans know little about – as many as 6 million people died in Ukraine during WWII – and explored the heartbreak of all types of loss, from the loss of a loved one to loss of romantic love to loss of a people. Combining Veatch’s whimsy with Tarnawsky’s depth, the show spanned the range of possibilities held within the heartbreak theme, from fun and tongue-in-cheek to utterly devastating.
The show was supported by grants from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation.
Produced by Annex Theatre
video by Ian Johnston
Inspired by the tradition of the old-fashioned circus sideshow, this original dance-theater work by Jenna Bean Veatch featured characters whose physical abnormalities bestowed them with special powers. Rather than disabilities, these were super-abilities. The Bearded Lady contortionist's beard was magnetic. Daffodil, The Jaundiced Girl, had the ability to make unexpected things come out of her mouth, like flowers and deep dark sounds. The Tree Man had branches growing from his palms which bloomed when he fell in love. Supported by a chorus of sideshow performers singing haunting Appalachian ballads, the work highlighted the peculiar beauty that can be found only in the unusual and drew on the excitement that comes from catching a glimpse of otherworldliness. With displays that were at times odd and outrageously funny and at other times breathtakingly beautiful, Sideshow fell into the category of children's art made for adults. It was whimsical yet somber, with a tingling strangeness. Blending dance, theater, music, and elements of puppetry, it toed the line between being magical and haunting, simple and fantastical.
I Am Standing Here
U.S. Presidential Election Response Piece, written November 10, 2016
Performed in Vaudevillingham, the Bellingham Circus Guild's monthly variety show in Bellingham, WA, and at the California Institute of Integral Studies MFA Showcase in San Francisco
I AM STANDING HERE
I'll be grabbing my own pussy, thank you very much.
I am standing here because I am a woman, and I am fucking strong.
I am standing here because I'm queer, and I like being queer.
I am standing here in solidarity with black and brown people.
I am standing here in solidarity with Muslims.
I am standing here for Mexicans living in this country facing the fear of deportation.
I am standing here for the unarmed black men and women who are being killed by the police who are supposed to be keeping them safe.
I am standing here for the Syrian refugees who will be banned from finding refuge here.
I am standing here because too often I have not spoken up, because I don't know what to say, because I'm shy, because I don't want to upset anyone, because I don't want to cause trouble, because I don't like confrontation, because I have been trained to believe that I never have enough information to be able to speak with authority, because I am afraid of getting it wrong.
I am standing here because it is time to stand here.
I am standing here because it's time to get loud.
I am standing here because I need to know that I am not alone.
I am standing here because I want us to be in this thing together.
I am standing here in opposition to the culture that thinks it is normal and acceptable behavior to brag about sexual assault.
I am standing here in mourning for the progress I thought had been made.
I am standing here in grief and loss.
I am standing here in love and compassion, and right now this is what compassion looks like because sometimes compassion needs to rage.
I am standing here because this is MY body.
I am standing here because I am usually nice and sweet and right now I don't wanna be.
I am standing here because I am an artist and these are the tools of my trade.
I am standing here because FUCK.
I am standing here because I can't believe so many think it's okay.
I am standing here to say it is not okay.
I am standing here in sorrow.
I am standing here in hope.
I am standing here because Canada is tempting but we are needed on the ground here.
I am standing here because I am afraid.
I am standing here because I am powerful.
I am standing here because I have to.
copyright 2016, Jenna Bean Veatch
Lady Twinkle McBean Vs. Bunny De La Nuit
Clown piece created for Ear the Ground Theater's "Not All Clowns Are Bozos"
Performed by Naomi Russell & Jenna Bean Veatch
Costumes by Jenna Bean Veatch
I Believe I Can Fly
Solo clown piece created for Ear to the Ground Theater's "Not All Clowns Are Bozos"