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Diane Torr Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens (1986)
  • Title: Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens
  • Holdings: photo gallery
  • Duration: Unknown
  • Language: English
  • Date: 4-5 Dec 1986
  • Location: Franklin Furnace, New York, New York, USA
  • Type-Format: performance art
  • Cast: Performed by Diane Torr, Lizzie Olesker, and Christina Koenig.
  • Credits: Conceived by Diane Torr; Costume and set design by Loredana Rizzardi; Sound by Bob Kirschner, Carol Parkinson, and Barb Solow; Technical Direction by Marcel Meijer; Technical Assistance by Holly Gram; Slide photography by Ann Turyn; Voiceover by Ron King; Film by Patricia Ryan.

Diane Torr Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens (1986)

Diane Torr investigates the politics of gender fluidity and sexual identity in Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens (1986). Torr, along with Christina Koenig and Lizzie Olesker, subverts gender binaries by performing on stage as drag kings—females who embody masculinity and portray stereotypes of women. They explore the possibilities of becoming more than one gender through a "metamorphosis of the sexual imagination." Wearing men's suits and other costumes, the performers enact gender-specific poses that deconstruct stereotypical gender roles informed by heterosexuality. Together these acts work to expand the repertoire of gender performativity by challenging socially accepted constructions of female behavior.

Diane Torr (1948-2017) is a performance artist working in dance, installation, and film/video. Originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, Torr developed her artistic career as an integral part of New York City's downtown art scene. She created an extensive body of work that was presented venues across the city including Franklin Furnace, The Kitchen, Danceteria, and The Mudd Club, among others. Torr is a visiting lecturer at Glasgow School of Art, Stockholm University of Arts, and Freie Universität Berlin. Her renowned Man-for-a-Day workshop has been taught across the globe and is featured prominently in the documentary film Venus Boyz (2002). She co-authored with Stephen Bottoms Sex, Drag and Male Roles: Investigating Gender as Performance (2010).

Lizzie Olesker’s performance work explores the quotidian intricacies of experience in relationship to language, gesture, place, and history. Her solo pieces, plays, and devised works have been developed and seen at The Public Theater, New Georges, Ohio Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, Dixon Place, Clubbed Thumb, and the Invisible Dog. Olesker collaborated with the Talking Band on several projects as a performer and writer at La MaMa, HERE Arts Center, and toured internationally with the company. She has been awarded arts fellowships and grants from Brooklyn Arts Council, Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Dramatists Guild, and New York Foundation for the Arts, with residencies at Blue Mountain Center, Hedgebrook, and Tofte Lake Center. Olesker’s hybrid performance project with filmmaker Lynne Sachs, EVERY FOLD MATTERS—about the paid work of doing other people’s laundry—was recently presented in neighborhood laundromats and is being made into a film. Her writing is published in the Brooklyn Rail, Heinemann Press, and in the Cherry Lane Anthology of Plays. Olesker teaches playwriting at New York University and the New School, and is an organizer of the adjunct faculty union, UAW Local 7902.

As back-up singer with Yo Soy, Yo Soy, The Grace Paris Band, and The Wonderfuls in the 1980s, Christine Koenig was sought out to play a femme fatale singer in The Sleazebuckets’ The Story of Ms. O at performance space 8BC. This performance led to her collaboration with Diane Torr and Lizzie Olesker in developing GIRLS WILL BE BOYS WILL BE QUEENS. Together, they later created Oedipus in the Mouth of the Dragon, which was presented as part of "Art on the Beach" in New York. Koenig has worked with the National Black Touring Company on the production of Homeland, a play about apartheid in South Africa. Shortly after, she worked with director John Thorpe on Open Admissions, a one-act about a young black man’s struggle to remain at CUNY during the 1960s. Koenig worked for over twenty years at the Henry Street Settlement and obtained a Master of Social Work from Hunter College.

Additional Materials

icon Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens Performance Proposal

icon Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens Press Release

icon Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens Performance Program