Welcome to Judy Garland’s 21st century apocalyptic nightmare. Throughout (I Could Go on Singing) Over the Rainbow, FK takes audiences on an intimate journey of grief, joy and remembrance.
Each audience member enters the space holding a stub ticket, ‘admit one’, and memories of fairgrounds and arcades instantly enter the mind. There is a black X taped to the floor with FK standing in front, proudly displaying her rainbow tattoo. The audience are surrounded by an archaic cacophony of white noise and bass. It is clear this is not the ‘Oz’ we remember from our childhood. Okishima Island Tours Association provides a live accompaniment to the performance, creating a spectacle of noise that seems to give voice to FK’s emotions and passions.
Audience members can experience an intimate one-to-one. It is both an experience to take part and to watch. Audience members stand on the X and hand their ticket to FK. She places it on her heart before transforming into a modern, glittery Dorothy. Red shoes, lipstick and a sequin blazer. FK takes your hand. The last recording of Judy Garlands ‘Over the Rainbow’ begins to play as FK takes a power stance, mic in the air she begins to sing along. When the song ends, she steps back, takes off the shoes and blazer and takes her position next to the X ready for the next audience member to hand her their ticket.
The durational performance lasts but an hour, but I could have watched for longer. In fact, it would have been interesting to see how FK coped after six hours of continually singing the same song over and over and having these personal connections over and over. At the start of the performances, the one-to-ones can seem personal: a voyeuristic stance to the audience we feel guilty for looking in. FK fiercely gazes into each audience member’s eyes creating a loving and caring performance. However as the hour goes by, that is what it becomes: a performance. Apart from the occasional wink, FK’s interaction with the audience member disconcertingly does not change – the repetitive mechanical motions she sets in place begins to feel impersonal and even cold. Despite this, as the hour begins to creep towards an end, people almost fight to get to the X (conscious that their opportunity to experience being sung directly to was quickly depleting.)
This is a unique personal performance, allowing the memory of Judy Garland to pass from one hand to another.