Dress Suits to Hire
THE SPLIT BRITCHES COMPANY
The Annex
May 19 - June 5, 2005
Thursday - Saturday 7:30pm
Sunday - 2:30pm
Tickets $20
Written by Holly Hughes
In Collaboration with Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver

Box office 212.475.7710

In DRESS SUITS TO HIRE, a heady mixture of erotic fantasy and hard-boiled pulp drama, two "sisters" who live in a rental clothing shop use the merchandise to try on various facets of their personalities. Created by Holly Hughes, Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, DRESS SUITS TO HIRE is a haunting and hilarious look into a room where one woman embodies a dark and predatory sexuality while the other one struggling against lesbian desires and her autonomous and abusive right hand. DRESS SUITS TO HIRE, which won OBIE Awards for both Shaw and Hughes (Shaw for her performance in the original 1987 production and a special citation for Hughes for the 1993 revival), is a mellifluous ode to lesbian eros and a joyful, literate send-up of all romantic fantasy.

This fresh look at DRESS SUITS TO HIRE is a theatrical celebration marking the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Split Britches Company and reunites Weaver and Shaw with DRESS SUITS TO HIRE’s original choreographer Stormy Brandenberger and original costume designer Susan Young, as well as the production’s original coordinator, Lori E. Seid. Vivian Stoll is this production’s sound designer.

Founded in 1980 by Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw and Deborah Margolin, Split Britches has written and performed ground-breaking work (in trio, duet, and solo, as well as in collaboration with other artists) that has become an icon of lesbian and feminist performance for the last quarter of a century. Split Britches has created five pieces in trio: Split Britches, Beauty and the Beast, Upwardly Mobile Home, Little Women – The Tragedy, and Lesbians Who Kill. They have worked in duet with collaborative artists Holly Hughes in DRESS SUITS TO HIRE, BlooLips in Belle Reprieve, Gay Sweatshop in Lust and Comfort, Stacy Makishi in Salad of the Bad Café, and London’s Clod Ensemble in Double Agency. They have performed several solo shows, including Peggy Shaw’s Menopausal Gentleman, You’re Just Like My Father and To My Chagrin; and Lois Weaver’s Faith and Dancing and What Tammy Needs to Know. The company has received numerous awards, including a Jane Chamber Award and four Village Voice OBIE Awards. Their collection of scripts, Split Britches Feminist Performance/Lesbian Practice, edited by Sue Ellen Case, won the 1997 Lambda Literary Award for Drama.


Biographies

Peggy Shaw (Performer/Co-Author) is an actor, playwright and producer. She has received three OBIE Awards for her work with the Split Britches Company - for performances in DRESS SUITS TO HIRE, Belle Reprieve (ensemble performance award with Lois Weaver and BlooLips’ Bette Bourne and Precious Pearl) and Menopausal Gentleman, directed by Rebecca Taichman. She also played Billy Tipton in the American Place production of Carson Kreitzer’s The Slow Drag. Peggy is currently touring her new show To My Chagrin, which she created through a Rockefeller Map Grant in collaboration with musician and sound designer Vivian Stoll, directed by Lois Weaver. Split Britches are also a part of Staging Human Rights, where they work in prisons in Rio De Janeiro and England. Peggy has been a collaborator, writer and performer with Spiderwoman Theater and Hot Peaches Theater. She co-founded the OBIE Award winning WOW Café in 1980. Peggy won the New York Foundation for the Arts Award for Emerging Forms in 1988, 1995 and 1999; she also won the 1995 Anderson Foundation Stonewall Award for “excellence in making the world a better place for gays and lesbians.” The Foundation for Contemporary Performance recently awarded Peggy with Theatre Performer of the Year. Michigan Press will publish a new book on Peggy, edited by Jill Dolan, that will include the scripts for You’re Just Like My Father, Menopausal Gentlemen and To My Chagrin. Peggy has taught performance at colleges and universities including (in America): Hampshire College, the University of Hawaii, UC Davis, Cal Arts, Harvard, University of Maryland, Amherst, Smith, UCLA and Yale.

Lois Weaver (Performer/Co-Author/Director) has been a performer, director, and writer with the Split Britches Company since 1980. She was a co-founder of Spiderwoman Theatre and of WOW Café. She is currently touring with Leslie Hill and Helen Paris in On the Scent and developing a guerilla video performance entitled Dirty Laundry, commissioned by Franklyn Furnace in NY. She edited and directed Peggy Shaw's To My Chagrin and directed Holly Hughes in Preaching to the Perverted. She teaches independently in the U.S. and is a Reader in Contemporary Performance at Queen Mary, University of London where she is producing director of East End Collaborations. She is involved in Staging Human Rights, a project that uses performance practice to explore human rights in women’s prisons in Brazil and the U.K. and is the conference director for Psi#12: Performing Rights, an international performance studies conference on the subject of performance and human rights. Lois is also touring her solo performance Faith and Dancing and developing a new solo performance What Tammy Needs to Know, supported by the Arts Council of England and commissioned by New York State Council on the Arts. Lois’ numerous
fellowships and awards include: Village Voice OBIE Award for Belle Reprieve; a 2003 Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theatre (NY); and the Live Art Development Agency's One To One Bursary for Individual Live Art Practitioners (2003-2004 Recipient, London).

Holly Hughes (Co-Author) is a writer and performance artist. She launched her thespian career at NYC’s infamous home for wayward girls, the WOW Café. Her other works include The Well of Horniness, and Preaching to the Perverted. She is the author of “Clit Notes: A Sapphic Sampler” and the co-editor of “O Solo Homo: The New Queer Performance” with David Roman. Hughes has received funding from the National Endowment of the Arts, NYSCA, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation and has received two Village Voice OBIE Awards as well as awards from GLAAD, NGLTF and many other organizations. Currently she is working on a new solo, Dog and Pony Show – Bring Your Own Pony. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan with joint appointments in the School of Art and Design and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Lori E. Seid (Project Coordinator) started her career in the theater as a stage manger, technical director and lighting designer in NYC’s downtown club and performance art scene. She worked extensively with Karen Finley, Spalding Gray, DANCENOISE, David Rouseeve, Charles Atlas, Diamanda Galas, Tim Miller, Eric Bogosian, Meredith Monk, John Bernd, Penny Arcade, Phillip Glass, Annie Sprinkle, John Kelly, BlooLips, Blue Man Group, Split Britches, Holly Hughes, 5 Lesbian Brothers, Antony and The Johnsons and Ethyl Eichelberger, to name drop but a few. Since 1988, Seid has been producing unique theatre events in NYC and worldwide including: Salon de la Mer (lesbian cabaret/burlesque show); Kate Bornstein’s Hidden A Gender (one of the first performance pieces about the male to female transgender experience); Marga Gomez’s Pretty, Witty and Gay; Performance Space 122's Field Trips (group shows of solo performance artists) and Seid’s recurring lounge/ performance/ party Lori’s Lesbian Love Lounge. For her theatre work, Seid was awarded The OBIE, The Theatre Craft International Award and a Bessie (a downtown dance and performance award) - all for sustained overall achievements in theatre. In the mid 90’s, Seid also started producing independent films, including The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, All Over Me and High Art. From 1998-2002, Seid was the music producer for “The Rosie O’ Donnell Show” which earned her numerous Emmys. Seid continues working with Rosie O’Donnell and was the associate producer on the Boy George musical Taboo. Seid is also currently producing a documentary about the fans of Dolly Parton, For the Love of Dolly.

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