St. Vincent onderwijst met filosofisch theater op ‘MassEducation’

door Michelle Geerardyn

Annie Clark. Dat is live een wervelwind die het oorsmeer uit de diepste krochten van je gehoorgangen wegblaast. Futuristische pakken laten ook visueel geen plaats voor twijfel. Strak geregisseerd en geproduceerd klonk ze op ‘MASSEDUCTION’. Deze pianoversies vormen de kiem van die krachttoer. Het is een naakte voorstelling van elke rauwe emotie als beweegreden achter de nummers. Onverhuld, vals, schreeuwend en bloedmooi tegelijk krijgen we de blauwdruk van St. Vincents psyche te horen. ‘MassEducation’ verhoudt zich tot ‘MASSEDUCTION’ zoals theater tot cinema. Schoonheidsfoutjes worden omarmd en improvisatie is de regel. Het volgende script – een dialoog tussen Clark en de maatschappij – kan een handige leidraad zijn tijdens het luisteren.

by St. Vincent

(At rise, St. Vincent is taking off
her extrovert suit and a neutral
costume underneath is revealed as
the lights come up.)

Scene 1 (Masseduction)

What’s with the costume change?

This is about bringing a message with honesty and clarity. I want to tell you these ideas without any distraction.

But didn’t you get the chance to do that on ‘MASSEDUCTION’?

I guess this different approach just turned me on. And I can’t turn off what turns me on.


Scene 2 (Savior)

Besides, I hope that this way, I can demonstrate the arbitrary nature of identity. There’s a constant power struggle between different sides of one’s self.

Isn’t that a bit self-destructing in the long run?

No one is ever fully able to protect loved ones from themselves. Let them experiment and fall.
(intensifies speech)
You cannot save someone by keeping them from finding their true self.


Scene 3 (Sugarboy)

Can you give an example of an inner fight like that?

Gender norms and fitting in them was maybe my biggest personal struggle. That’s why I decided not to identify as anything.

What are you talking about?! You’re either a boy or a girl! That’s the way it has always been!

(ST. VINCENT walks over to SOCIETY and hugs it)
There, there, it’s ok. Unfamiliar things aren’t necessarily bad. No one is trying to hurt you.


Scene 4 (Smoking section)

But it’s simple biology, you can’t just…

Imagine the possibilities when you can feel free like that, don’t fight it.

(SOCIETY goes off to the edge of the stage to sit down and process the incoming existential crisis while ST. VINCENT pats it on the back)

Let it happen, let it happen.


Scene 5 (Los Ageless & New York)

(still shook and sunken in thought)
But how do you take all of this so well?

I am just like any other person. I have my everyday dramas. My heart gets broken just like anyone elses.

(ST. VINCENT sighs and starts a personal love tragedy, and eventually sits at the edge of the stage to speak to the audience directly for the end of it)

I guess that’s just me honey, I guess that’s how I’m built. I try to tell you I love you but it comes out all sick.
I guess that’s just me honey, I guess that’s how I’m built. I try to write you a love song but it comes out a lament.

(continues in a way any Disney song would sound like if the word ‘motherfucker’ was allowed in them)

New York isn’t New York without you love.
New love isn’t true love, back to you love.
Cause you’re the only motherfucker in the city who can handle me.


Scene 6 (Hang on me)

Oh St. Vincent, tell me more of your views on life. You rattle me in every part of my existence.

Well, all human beings create their own mythologies, and I’m in the somewhat bizarre circumstance of creating a big mythology that gets shared with a lot of people. In some ways, doing the work that I do, is about reinventing a value system. There’s an ubiquitous value system in America. These markers that signify your rite of passage into adulthood or into validity: getting married and having kids. But I always felt a bit like an alien cocking my head to the side at various cultural milestones, going, “I would never aspire that”. My markers are more about the things I do and make.

(ST. VINCENT gets emotional, throws herself on the ground and reaches out in the distance)

Sometimes I think you and me, we’re not meant for this world.

(ST. VINCENT appears to be leaving)


Scene 7 (Slow disco)

(SOCIETY throws itself to ST. VINCENT’S feet)

St. Vincent, please don’t go without honouring me with your final wise words, I beg you.

My dearest Society, in the end it’s all about how the life you’re living and the one you should be living are running parallel. And how one haunts the other.
For instance this evening, I’m so glad I came, but I can’t wait to leave. I think that captures all of it.

(ST. VINCENT fades in the distance as the curtains fall)

St. Vincent toont met deze naakte pianoversies een andere dimensie van zichzelf. De cabaretiervorm van ‘Pills’ en het hartverscheurend eerlijke einde van ‘Los ageless’ zijn perfect in al hun onvolmaaktheid. Haar boodschap staat deze keer centraal en wordt haarfijn uitgelegd. St. Vincent voor minister van Onderwijs.