Marianna Ellenberg!

Pawel and Ebola is a dark comedic play, incorporating electro-acoustic music and a fractured narrative to create a contemporary investigation of spirituality, mental illness and the female voice. Pawel and Ebola re-contextualizes the 19th century’s burgeoning science on mental health and parallels it to contemporary maladies of liberal capitalism, corporate feminism and consumer apathy. By weaving actual case studies recorded by 19th Century French neurologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot into the script, the spectator will be lead deep inside the twisted lives of a brother-sister duo struggling with their own dysfunctional relationship, full of oedipal trauma and survivor guilt.

Narrative

In Pawel & Ebola, the adult offspring of Dr Charcot and his patient Genevieve, are wrapped up in a sickening heist, living in an abandoned mansion and engaged in a sadistic and incestuous relationship. Abandoned by their father and infirm mother, the brother-sister duo is left alone and forced to play all familial roles (mother, father, sister, brother) in their decaying New England estate. Borne of the historical facts surrounding the scientific community in the late 19th century, the story veers in to absurdity and chaos as a local cult takes an interest in Ebola as their sacrificial lamb. As the cult devises a plan to kidnap and kill the sweet young girl we learn that Pawel is not only in on the deal, but he has been holding his own “hysterical” mother captive deep inside the mansion. In a wry twist of fate the mother escapes and rescues her daughter Ebola, who gains revenge on her aggressors and makes them succumb to the utmost humiliation. The piece ends in a dance sequence, with all the male figures becoming indentured captcha typers and Ebola and her mother celebrating with a crew of undocumented female laborers. The song and dance chant, combines a Jewish prayer for the dead, a WPA era worker’s song and electronic improvisation produced by composer Paula Matthusen.

COMPOSER: PAULA MATTHESUN

WRITER/DIRECTOR: MARIANNA ELLENBERG

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