Mar 29, 2018
Apr 8, 2018

Love Trade

“…wonderfully acted by an extremely talented actress, plumbing the depths of her powers to communicate the energy that has been necessary to liberate herself.”
– The Scotsman

By The Hess Collective
Written & Directed by Elizabeth Hess

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A love tangle. A lonely girl. A lost god. One angry mother.

Love Trade is an exploration of gender and cultural assumptions in upheaval through music, myth, movement and embodied performance. The piece uncovers a love tangle between the Western goddess Demeter – frozen in eternal springtime – and Persephone – her restless daughter – who wanders away from the Upper World.

Somewhere in ‘no-man’s land’ she meets the Eastern god, Shiva – intense and mysterious – and is immediately attracted to his exotic ‘otherness.’ All three undergo clashing cultural and gender expectations; two emerge transformed.


Director & Playwright: Elizabeth Hess

Cast /Collaborators:
Elizabeth Hess, Katie Palmer, Lucas Tahiruzzaman Syed

Sound Designer /Composer: Lucas Tahiruzzaman Syed
Movement Consultant: Gina Stevensen
Creative Producer / Company Manager: Jenny Waxman
Producing Consultant: Rebecca Sheahan

For The Hess Collective:
Artistic Director: Elizabeth Hess
Managing Director: Jenny Waxman
Producing Consultant: Rebecca Sheahan


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The Hess Collective generates new work based on a hybrid approach to embodied performance. A fusion of physical theater modalities culled from Western and Eastern practices, diverse ensemble members unlock impulses, experience and imagination to generate transformative, empathetic and expansive artistic expression. The work addresses issues of social and global urgency through heightened realism, cross-cultural collaboration and interdisciplinary creation.


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Listen in as Love Trade writer/director/performer Elizabeth Hess, along with collaborators/performers Katie Palmer and Lucas Tahiruzzaman Syed, discuss their collaborative process, feminist revenge fantasies, integrating and playing with the audience, fetishization of race, balloons, lived text, and performance poetry.

Click here to listen

“Ms. Hess arises as a vibrantly sexual, magnificent woman…The play is about transformation and Ms Hess’ realization of it is astonishing…The woman gazing out at the audience as the lights go down is so stunning you need a moment to remember she was there all the time.”
– The New York Times

“…a deeply visceral experience… As part of her cries out, another part of her stands strong before moving on to the next moment.”
– HowlRound: Performance Arts at the UN

Special Event

Approaches to Embodied Performance

Saturday, March 31

Writer and dramaturg Martha Steketee will lead a discussion with performer/playwright Elizabeth Hess
and award-winning filmmaker/theatre-maker Erica Fae.