Immodest Acts: The Voices of Benedetta
Inspired by Judith Brown's history, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy, this project investigates the relationships between sexuality, religious ecstasy, and personal and institutional power. New York based performer/director Michele Minnick and Brazilian musician and composer Zanna create a texture of sound, text and music in order to explore the world of Benedetta Carlini, a visionary abbess who was imprisoned late in her life for having manufactured a number of her mystical experiences, and Bartolomea Crivelli, her fellow nun and attendant who confessed in one of the investigations of Carlini's activity to having had sexual relations with her, but only while Benedetta was possessed by a male angel. Old and new technologies of possession combine in the spacetime of this performance, bridging an imagined past with a real present in which questions of identity and knowledge continue to fuel the battle between self, society, gods and demons for control over mind and body.
Michele Minnick is a director/choreographer, performer, certified Laban movement analyst and teacher. She has worked closely with Richard Schechner since 1995 and has taught the Rasboxes, a psychophysical perfomer training technique based on the physicalization of emotional states, at various colleges and universites in the U.S., Brazil, and other countries since 1999. She is completing her doctoral thesis in Peformance Studies at NYU.