Student Life Editor
This past Friday, “The Diva Saga: The Legend of the Worst Drag Queen,” debuted in Tawes Theatre.
A collaboration between the Communications and Media Studies and the Theatre Departments, “The Diva Saga” starred drag queen Veronica Bleaus and was produced by Scott Andrew.
The show, which consisted of nine scenes and preshow and interlude projections, was a “multi-channel video installation and live performance piece,” according to a poster advertising Andrew’s artist talk.
“‘The Diva Saga’ questions constructions of sexuality, gender, and identity in a digital age, lampooning normative and restrictive artistic judgement and popular culture,” it read.
The performance aspect of the work took on a different meaning for each scene. In some scenes, Bleaus was dancing and lip syncing the lyrics of a song by whichever diva she was embodying, where in other scenes she would have sword fights with the persona being projected on the screen.
“The show is fun, smart, engaging, and intellectually curious — everything that I think Washington College students are — so I knew it would be something that resonates with the student body. The show is also weird in parts, and I think it’s beneficial for everyone to be exposed to some weird stuff every once in a while. It gets the brain going,” Dr. Alicia Kozma, assistant professor of communications and media studies, said.
The show was indeed weird — from projections of jeweled crotches to a mini-interlude in which the projection whirls around on the floor after the camera pans into a projection of an anus.
No matter how weird the show got though, attendees enjoyed themselves, cheering at every high kick and laughing as balloons fell from the ceiling and were stomped on.
“The show is a feast of color, pop culture, music, and ideas about identity, personhood, and community,” Dr. Kozma said.
“I’m quite excited for students to see that the media they interact with every day — video games, movies, pop music, comic books, and more — can be used as fruitful materials for intellectual investigation in addition to their value as entertaining pop culture artifacts,” she said.
It was clear that the show hit its mark among students, who cheered for Bleaus’s return to the stage during both interludes.
“My favorite part of the show was ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody.’ This is the second song of the show, and it definitely makes the audience more comfortable and open to the show, singing along or cheering Bleaus on. The best part absolutely was hearing how responsive and excited the audience was to be there,” Michelle Ly, a junior and videographer for the show, said.
Junior Natalie Mansfield also was a videographer for the production.
“Working on ‘The Diva Saga’ was an eye opening experience, as it was my first time working on film production outside of an academic setting. I definitely enjoyed the opportunity and look forward to being a part of similar productions in the future,” she said.
While the show itself was flashy, colorful, and at times over the top, it explored ideas about identity throughout — the main narrative of the show was Bleaus’s journey to becoming a diva herself through voiceovers with a Diva who sometimes encouraged her on her journey, and other times tried to put her down.
The internal struggle Bleaus had ultimately led her to becoming the diva she set out to be. In the final scene, she appears on stage dressed in her most elaborate costume yet — an all-white and sparkling dress with a headband and sword — to, for the first time in the show, sing the final number.