Don't Miss Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno 

If you live anywhere close to NYC be sure to catch Isabella Rossellini's one-woman show.
By: Kelsy Chauvin
January 22 2014 7:04 PM

The first thing you notice is that you’re in the same room as Isabella Rossellini. Once you recover from that trance, you notice that Isabella Rossellini is talking about sex. Then you remember how you knew that already, and, like a snail being hit on by another snail, Isabella Rossellini begins to prod and poke your mind and your funny bone—and suddenly you’re transported into the freaky funky sexual world of a few dozen passionate species.

Green Porno is Rossellini’s live performance of her critically acclaimed and provocative online series originally aired on the Sundance Channel, now debuting at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Inspired by her lifelong fascination with biodiversity across all the earth’s seemingly endless macro and micro ecosystems, the artist seized the chance to explore both procreation and the startlingly different ways our fellow living creatures get it on.

Like her short films, Green Pornolive on stage also features Rossellini as a solo storyteller, wielding her beguiling Italian accent like a come-hither gesture to our ears. She keeps her tales simple, interspersing often humorous demonstrations as she reads from a script at a makeshift lectern, which itself tricked out with props. Occasional cutaways to her films, though sometimes redundant, allow her quick change costumes, from woman to man (not unlike some mollusks and other gender-non-conforming animals), and finally into a hamster, one of the mammals she uses to make a grand point about self-sacrifice and, well, nutrition.

The simplicity of the set, props and performance are quaint at first, then soon become obvious reflections of the content: For there is nothing so ordinary as the inclination among all fauna to breed. And as with deer and dolphins—which Rossellini calls most kinky (along with humans)—frisky and sometimes-pansexual streaks may not only be for breeding, but sometimes are simply for the pleasure of lovemaking.

Rossellini’s performance is at once enlightening, enthralling and entertaining. Her feminist tilt helps spotlight some of the ways the matriarchy rules many species’ domains. It’s a welcome reminder of how isolated and arrogant humans can be about our planetary dominance, and just how exciting and confounding and wildly different the rest of the natural world is.

At two points, Rossellini brings up intimate photos of her celebrity royal family. She elaborates on her early zoological interests, and how her own relatives interacted and led her to be the woman she is today. With an image of her mother, Ingrid Bergman, looming large behind her, Rossellini tells us how she may not have been as beautiful (to which we may collectively shudder at the mere thought). But then she proudly asserts one of life’s great consolations, applicable to all species: “The quest of evolution isn’t perfection, it is diversity.”

 

“Green Porno” (http://www.bam.org/theater/2014/green-porno) runs through January 25th at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Fisher, 321 Ashland Place (between Lafayette Avenue and Hanson Place). Tickets $120. 

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