Printable CopyMDLSX
The Adelaide Festival
Adelaide College of the ARTS
Until 13 Mar 2017

Review by Talia Gaertner-Jones

It is not often that you get to witness a performance which is so powerful, confronting and meaningful not just in presentation but in routine, technical aspects and message that at the end of the performance you are left feeling both an overwhelming need to stand up and applaud as well as feeling a hollowness inside from a deeper understanding of the subject presented. That is what MDLSX does to you. At the final bow, I looked around the audience and saw people wiping tears from their eyes, others standing up and cheering for such a strong and courageous performance and more just sitting in their seats still taking in the experience.

Silvia Calderoni stars in this one person show that tells her own life story, merged with that of protagonist Cal Stephanides from Jeffrey Eugenides 2002 novel “Middlesex”. Calderoni performs non-stop for 80 minutes moving fluidly through costume changes, dance routines, sound and film. Carrying a small video camera, Calderoni films herself and projects live images of the performance mixed in with home movies on a small round window on the wall, while English subtitles of her Italian dialogue are projected alongside. Mixed in with this is a soundtrack for the show, featuring music by The Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M, Rodriguez, Vampire Weekend and ending with The Smiths all also controlled by Calderoni from a laptop on a table upstage.

MDLSX tells of a person, who was born once as a female, but in their teenage years is reborn as a male and the performance explores the mental and physical transitions that this entails. Calderoni uses links to her own family history, along with scientific explanations and political discourse to explain what ‘society’ is programmed to think about people, men and women and groups of people who do not fit the term ‘normal’. She breaks down the conception of ‘we’. ‘We’ being a group of people, black, white, transgender, gay, straight, male or female. However, ‘we’ only meaning a single group and never the groups as a whole. Governments and society would like us to think that ‘we’ are all one, yet everything in the world is established to create separation.

Calderoni performance is outstanding, it is confronting in parts, eye-opening and informative. MDLSX is a performance that everyone should be exposed to.