Evolution, Revolution and The Mail Order Bride

A new performance at fortyfivedownstairs transcends location, time and genre in an exploration of femininity. 

Zulya Kamalova explores themes of femininity and sexuality in this layered musical tragicomedy. Originally from Russia, Kamalova started her career as a musician. “Playing with a band, my repertoire was getting more and more dramatic,” she tells me, “so I thought, ‘I’ll try this thing out’.

“It took me years. I realised it was such a huge task,” she continues, “the themes I was looking at were so immense.” Eventually Kamalova created three vastly different characters, all “swept away by circumstance”. Maya, an ancient Shaman, Inessa Arman, a Russian revolutionary and Eva, a modern day mail order bride. Teaming up with director Maude Davey, Kamalova was able to play all three characters herself.

“Inessa Armand is an actual historical figure, a Russian revolutionary,” Kamalova explains. “Eva, who is the mail order bride, she had to be kind of the opposite end of the spectrum. She came here looking for a more materialistic life. We are basically trying to look at what Ahman was fighting for as an early feminist and what have we actually achieved since then.

“We wanted to tell these women’s stories without pushing any strong judgements on them. I’m sure everybody will hear something that resonates with them.”

Employing the ancient Greek genre of tragicomedy and mixing it with live music and a one-woman performance, Evolution, Revolution and The Mail Order Bride is an innovative amalgam.

Showing at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, from February 5 to 16. Please note there is no performance on Tuesday, February 11.


Photography by Sarah Walker


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