glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 

   member name
  
   password
  
 
   
   Forgot Your Password?  
   
Not a Member Yet?  
   
JOIN TODAY. IT'S FREE!

 
  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy
  Copyright

 

 

 

 

 
arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Kemp, Lindsay (b. 1940?)  
 
page: 1  2  

A Midsummer Night's Dream

In 1984 Kemp and Celestino Coronado joined forces to make a film of Kemp's idiosyncratic stage production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which had premiered at London's Sadlers Wells theater a year earlier. Kemp played Puck--a perfect role for him, part Eros, part clown, part satyr--who is seen hovering in the air above the crossed lovers.

Sponsor Message.

Visually eccentric and memorable, this film exemplifies Kemp's ability to reinvent Shakespeare, unearthing the play's haunting, darkly erotic, subconscious allusions. Fittingly, Kemp even claims to be descended from William Kemp, Shakespeare's clown.

In the film, the changeling boy (François Testory) comes to the fore as a resonant image of the hermaphrodite, lusted after with relish by Oberon (Michael Matou). Thus, the crossed lovers in an enchanted wood are no longer heterosexual, but homosexual. A Midsummer Night's Dream may be Kemp's most fully realized work, though it dispensed with much of Shakespeare's text and established its own parameters.

Kemp as Gender Illusionist

In 1991 Kemp performed a rare solo work in a production called The Onnagata (Japanese gender illusionists). The title refers to Japanese artists who devote themselves to being perceived as female. Long an admirer of these gender illusionists, Kemp studied the elaborate language of gestures in Japan with Sasae Onesuke and devised a "fantasy in kimonos" in which he revisited many of his earlier roles.

Kemp's Influence

Kemp has had a major influence on popular culture even though he has never himself achieved wide fame. For example, Kemp made a decisive mark on David Bowie, who was Kemp's student in the late 1960s. They toured together in a small show called Pierrot in Turquoise.

The visual imagery of Bowie's experimental stage persona Ziggy Stardust was given a boost by Kemp, who directed Bowie in his Rainbow rock theater production in 1972. This show incorporated mime and dance in a way not attempted before in rock and roll, but it has since been widely imitated.

The young singer and composer Kate Bush also fell under Kemp's spell. The influence of his gestures and dance style are apparent in her stage and video work. Kemp appeared in her 1994 film The Line, the Cross, the Curve.

Elements of Kemp's influence can also be detected in the work of such disparate artists as the British drag theater troupe Bloolips, dancer Michael Clark, and even club and performance artist Leigh Bowery.

Contemporary Kemp

Kemp and Company's most recent show, Dreamdances, features Kemp and two of his long-time dancer-collaborators, Nuria Moreno and Marco Berriel. A kind of "greatest hits" reconfigured for a company of three, Dreamdances presents highlights from some of Kemp's most definitive works, including Flowers, Salome, Nijinsky, and The Onnagata.

Kemp now lives in Rome teaching mime and directing operas. He remains the most quintessentially outrageous and openly homosexual man of the theater.

Kieron Devlin

  <previous page   page: 1  2    

    
 interact  
   
Contact Us
 
Join the Discussion
 
 find 
   
Related Entries
 
More Entries by this contributor
 
A Bibliography on this Topic

 
Citation Information
 
More Entries about The Arts
 
 


   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  Performance Art

Performance art has been embraced by queer artists as a means of challenging the very idea of traditional in art and culture.

arts >> Ashton, Sir Frederick

Sir Frederick Ashton may be described as the choreographer who most fully defined British ballet in the twentieth century.

arts >> Bowie, David

David Bowie, also known as "The Dame," became a leading light in 1970s "glam rock," going on to enjoy international superstar status, but his relationship to queer culture is deeply contradictory.

arts >> Duncan, Isadora

The mother of modern dance, Isadora Duncan brought her feminist consciousness to the stage; and in her bohemian private life, she constantly challenged society's rules.

arts >> Garbo, Greta

Mysterious, aloof, occasionally androgynous, actress Greta Garbo ignited the passions of men and women alike.

literature >> García Lorca, Federico

The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.

literature >> Genet, Jean

Jean Genet's work has left a powerful legacy to post-modernity and remains a provocation to questions of gay identity.

arts >> Hockney, David

One of the liveliest and most versatile visual artists of his generation, David Hockney not only has helped break down resistance to the erotic gaze directed at the male body but also has presented gay male couples in domestic--rather than sensational or sexual--images.

literature >> Jarman, Derek

In both his films and his writings, Derek Jarman's explicit project was to celebrate gay sexuality and imagine a place for it in English culture.

arts >> Kabuki

Kabuki, a classic Japanese theatrical form incorporating fantastical costumes, stylized gestures, music, and dance, originally showcased female and boy prostitutes, but now features all-male casts.

arts >> Nijinsky, Vaslav

One of the greatest dancers and most innovative choreographers in the history of ballet, Vaslav Nijinsky embodied the sensuality and sexual ambiguity associated with the distinctive new art of the twentieth century.

literature >> Shakespeare, William

As one of the key figures that western civilization has used to define itself, William Shakespeare stands in a complicated, fiercely contested relationship to homosexuality.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.


    Bibliography
   

Burnside, Fiona. "Words Versus Gestures." Dance Journal 5.3b (Summer 1987): 16-17

Kemp, Lindsay. "The Onnagata." Sunday Telegraph (April 14, 1991): xiii.

Smith Rupert. "Lindsay Kemp." Guardian (January 30, 2002): http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/story/0,3604,641424,00.html

Wilms, Anno. Lindsay Kemp and Company. Derek Jarman, preface; David Haughton, intro. London: Gay Men's Press, 1987.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Devlin, Kieron  
    Entry Title: Kemp, Lindsay  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated November 15, 2010  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/kemp_l.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

This Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.

www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.