The Dan Daw Show Director Mark Maughan, The Dan Daw Show definitely took some into a world with which they were not familiar … Dan is disabled, queer and a B&D participant. On many other levels The Dan Daw Show is identifiable by us all. It is about a person who wishes to show the world his happy place, his joyful state; moments where he feels sexy, a relational situation where he feels safe and cared for.
The show was part of the cultural line-up corresponding with World Pride and Sydney Mardi Gras, this year the former held in Sydney and officially ending today with a Sydney Harbour Bridge march and party. Daw is a self-titled ‘crip’ (short for cripple) and he is accompanied on stage by his ‘master’ Krisx (real name ‘Chris’ but spelt with a ‘K’ and silent ‘x’ for stagecraft purposes, as Daw’s explains …. Yes, there is a large dose of humour that accompanies this show :) Most people who have never explored, think of the B&D scene as a thing of cruelty, sadism … sprinkled with humiliation and assaults of the emotions as well as the body. It is an understandable paranoia reinforced by B-grade media and disturbed or criminal people who are looking for an excuse to act out their cruelty or self-hatred. In fact, in its most pure form B&D is all about trust, physical and emotional adventure, and intimacy; allowing a person to explore their fantasies in a sane and consensual environment where they have a ‘safe word’; basically a code, if they change their minds. That simple really. What made The Dan Daw Show different is that Daw’s is obviously not only someone who delights in following commands but he is also a natural exhibitionist, a performer. The show does not enact sex – again, certainly not a necessary component of a B&D session – but in this show the degree of intimacy on the stage and in the auditorium was palpable. Seemingly free-flowing, The Dan Daw Show is scripted. Because Daw’s voice is not always clear, the work has text flashing on stage when Daw speaks, frequently preceding his actual words. This fact is not highlighted but certainly not hidden either, even though the show feels a spontaneous interaction between two people. This makes the work a ballet of sorts, as it is a choreographed interaction between the two performers. It also contains some fetishised sculptural forms; a black, latex covered cube being the one that caught my attention, particularly when it imploded to reveal the outline of a human being (Daw), tightly encased in gleaming latex. Daw has a goal, he wants audiences to understand how much he enjoys the body that he feels others may judge and even pity. He also wants to put 'people like him' on stage and has chosen an interesting way to claim a niche by way of difference. By the end of the show, it is members of the audience who are enthralled by Daw. We are captivated participants in an intimate and caring warmth. The Dan Daw Show was performed at Sydney's Seymour Centre.
(Dan Daw Creative Projects have presented their work at British Dance Edition (UK), Swedish Performing Arts Biennale (SWE), Sydney Festival (AUS), Sophiensaele (DE), SoHo Playhouse (USA) and Sadler’s Wells (UK).
Dan’s work explores what it means for his queer, Crip body to occupy, and be unapologetic in, non-disabled spaces. He is interested in the function access, care, consent and interdependence has in those spaces.)