Shannon Bott

Sarah Miller: The Morning After, the Night Before

Shannon Bott

Shannon Bott

Shannon Bott

It starts in a bar. I’m standing alone at the back of the crowd clutching my glass of vin ordinaire. Yes, I have been here before. Suddenly in focus, a woman perched on the bar top—her voice is husky and flirtatious. She asks: “What’s your poison? What do you want?”

And before I have time to think of an answer, to define my role in this most familiar of settings, it’s Sex and the City, it’s you and me babe, out on the prowl. It’s Brigid Jones’ Diary. It’s most of us at some time, looking for something and ‘love is a four-letter word.’

Do you want me?
my body? my heart? my soul?
Just sex!
How do you want it?
Do you want it hard, fast, slow, soft, kinky, tender?
How long will we go for?
Will your libido match mine?
Will you fall in love?
What do you want?
A hard on, a slippery nipple, quick fuck, orgasm, pink pussy, 69er, flaming orgy, ecstasy?
How much do you want?
Will it be great?
It better be!

Shannon Bott’s The Morning After, the Night Before was first presented at the Blue Room Theatre in 2000. In an attempt to attract private support to tour the work interstate, she has reprised the show in PICA’s black box space. She’s a compelling and engaging performer, physically and vocally articulate, and unafraid to engage directly with her audience. This, her first solo work, is very much in the tradition of Wendy Houstoun or Kate Champion with its emphasis on the play of languages—spoken, theatrical and choreographic. What differs is the content which has yet to extend beyond the personal but then, she is a much younger artist.

The Morning After, the Night Before is accessible, polished and fun. It takes a familiar experience and translates it into a kind of cut-up, where fairytales, dirty jokes and a sense of personal experience happily co-exist. The design is simple and effective. On the one hand, a flock of cute handbags suspended in space, holding anything and everything a girl might need for a night on the town. On the other, a pristine column of white pillows that end up tossed across the floor in orgiastic abandon.

As a performer, Shannon Bott is charming, engaging and vital. She is also talented, tenacious and ambitious. And if this work doesn’t really stretch the parameters of either form or content—well, there was a lot to enjoy and the audience loved it.

The Morning After, the Night Before, created & performed by Shannon Bott, collaborators Sally Richardson & Sue Peacock, lighting Andrew Lake, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, April 24-26

RealTime issue #43 June-July 2001 pg. 34

© Sarah Miller; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 June 2001