Welcome to Elizabeth Doud, the pottiest mouth mermaid in the whole wide world and possibly even outer space. Lady Doud is an interdisciplinary performer (I have no idea what the hell that means but I’ll try to find out) and she’s more badass than Mickey Rourke’s jockstrap in the Wrestler. And she wants to have your baby, too. Yes, seriously. Elizabeth, who is unrelated to the Queen of England, is a pathological performer with a social agenda. Deal with it! She wants to convince you to stop using plastic bags when you shop. People, this shit doesn’t disintegrate. Wrap your arms around Doud and dive into the North Pacific Gyre, or the Eastern Garbage Patch, where all the plastic byproducts used to manufacture Wal-Mart goods end up and end up killing all the goddamn fish. Factoid: we’re next! Elizabeth’s latest project (in-progress) is tentatively called “The Mermaid Tear Factory” which explores the irreversible dilemma of plastics pollution in our planet’s oceans. Yes, this is serious stuff kids, so listen up. She’s gonna nurdle you.
Almost Dorothy: Doud, Doud, are you a mermaid and how can you prove it?
Elizabeth Doud: Holy halibut, Dorothy, no comas mierda. (Translation: don’t eat shit!) I’m actually 60% mermaid. I have the results from extensive genetic testing at my apartment if you want to see them, but the real proof is right before your eyes: these aren’t tights from Hot Topic, they’re scales. My parents were furious when I came out, and rest assured that there are a lot more of us out there. Wanna touch?
AD: Gross, I don’t play with fishes. I’ve heard you’ve been stung by a stingray and bumblebees, but what’s this stuff about the Gyre? Are you making this crap up?
ED: Dorothy, I have a fertile imagination, but not even in my wildest, twisted half-breed mermaid brain could I have dreamed up such a horrendous mass of disaster. The Gyre is real, and coming to a beach near you. You’ve even contributed to it, and lots of little mini-gyres all around. And by the way, the stingrays and bumblebees are pissed as shit that we insist on bagging all the crap we buy in plastic bags. Single use plastic bags are the wrapping paper of destruction. This is not just some NPR special report injection. Get off of the crack pipe of the plastic bags, people, and bring your own! Stardate 2010, we have quite a few college educated mofo’s out there at the 7-Eleven right now allowing sales clerks to put their double AA batteries in a PLASTIC BAG. Are you getting me? First world my mermaid ass…
AD: You must hate Christmas. Ever consider psychotherapy?
ED: Psychotherapy is good work when you can get it. In these lean times, I just go for reading a few Beckett plays to realign my inner business when needed. And Christmas is just medieval. At least the Middle Ages had the added benefit of being 100% biodegradable. If the dollar store is the crack house of plastics consumption, then Wal-Mart, and its evil twin Target, are the Deathstar Meth Labs of plastic consumption. You can’t have a Christmas that is not laced with the tinsel of these multinationals and, now that JHC came out in your interview, I feel like the jig is up. Oh, and mermaids don’t hate, we just get even.
AD: When an idea becomes concrete, tangible, like the irreversibility of plastics pollution or death by comet, is it just too goddamn late to do anything about it?
ED: It’s never to late to mutate. You can grow gills, or turn into a Disney action figure, depending on how much of your organism has been replaced by plastics molecules…it just takes longer than our millisecond attention span can stand these days. But mutating might be our best option.
AD: What’s a vigilante mermaid?
ED: These are the kind of girls that the headmaster asks to please leave the dance floor. They gyrate a lot. They’ve grown legs. They are into organic gardening, archery, art house cinema, they play capoeira. They write, read and recite poetry, peace-march, synchronize swim at theme parks, and they even have credit cards for online shopping. They are equal parts Coho salmon, Eartha Kitt and Wilma Mankiller. A few own handguns. Basically, their domain is everything that makes totalitarian dictatorships nervous and then some. There’s no telling what will happen when we hit critical mass.
AD: What makes a nurdle, nurdle?
ED: A nurdle is the anti-creative. Its mere presence says to the world that it has no destiny other than to fuck up the flow of love, which is the only unforgivable crime according to the Mermaid code of conduct.
AD: If you could be any nurdle in the world, what item would you be, and why?
ED: If there was absolutely no other option, and I had to be a nurdle, I’d be the nurdle in the Cher doll. Do you remember the Cher doll? She could totally kick Barbie’s ass and she was like a size 10 shoe. Or, the big comb in my mom’s underwear drawer.
AD: Finally, and don’t get too worked up. I know you’re preparing to release seashells back to the ocean. (Hello, helicopter.) Give us a bit of mermaid pottiness: fungus, antithetical, crap, vagina, & pumpkin soup.
ED: Here’s the deal, Dorothy, 2010 is the year we need to get our fucking shit together. We need to stop living passively like nurdles. We need to stop behaving like a bunch of Desperate Housewives in a Sabado Gigante theme park, and start cracking the hard shell on our heartcage, and consuming less jellopudding. Can you dig it?
AD: I can’t dig.
ED: Look for a shell repatriation event near you and think about giving back some of those refugee sea shells you’ve hidden away. Maybe you can pick up a few pieces of garbage while you’re there. Madre mar needs them back, you thieves! Be at 85th and Collins on January 1, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. Bring your seashells and we will serve arroz con leche and paddle out into to the sea to release your shells. I will provide sharpies so you can dedicate your shell and send it back with a wish. And there will be absolutely no littering, or you’ll have to answer to me.
ED: Potty mouth question: Why are all of the words used to describe a woman’s sex from the sea? From the most offensive, to the most tender, it’s always about a beautiful and terrifying sea monster. Now tell me I’m crazy, I dare you.
AD: I heart yams!
Elizabeth Doud (has the the longest bio ever) is a performer, writer and graphics junkie who has been influenced by many contemporary literary and movement forms, as well as the culture and practice of Flamenco and Capoeira. She is an independent artist and co-Artistic Director of the Miami based Las Negras Theater Collective. Originally from Seattle, Doud arrived in Miami in 1996 to join forces with Giovanni Luquini Performance Troupe and Akropolis, launching a ten-year performance and collaborative stint, creating, writing, producing and touring over a dozen original performance productions nationally and abroad. Aesthetically, her theater, movement and writing work is a pastiche of tropical-noir surrealism, literary collage, and non-linear multi-lingualese. She was most recently seen in Cabaret Unkempt in which she collaborated with long time theater partner and Las Negras co-creator Jennylin Duany, and that has toured extensively since 2006. In 2007, she was commissioned to write a libretto for IDALINA by Brazilian choreographer Giovanni Luquini, which was a co-commissioning dance-theater project between Miami Light Project and the Carnival Center of the Performing Arts, which received creation support from the MAPFUND. Her work has been supported individually, and as part of a collective, by the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the State of Florida, the City of Miami Beach, Miami Light Project, the National Dance Project, and the National Performance Network, as well as the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Besides her work with the performing arts, Doud is an arts and language educator, and worked for eight years developing adult education programs for refugees and political asylees at Miami Dade College’s REVEST Program. Both her teaching and writing employ bilingual techniques, and her writing has been published in the Mangrove, Miami SunPost, Cutthroat, various online journals and the Madera Tribune, and she has an article on bilingual composition through SUNY Press anthology Teaching Writing with Latino/a Students. Currently, she is touring Cabaret Unkempt with Las Negras Theatre Collective and developing a new work entitled Sipping Fury from a Teacup for their upcoming commission with Miami Light Project’s Here and Now Festival. Elizabeth is also the coordinator for the Performing Americas Program, an international performance exchange initiative by the National Performance Network, and is a Programming Consultant for Miami Dade College’s Cultural Affairs Department. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami.