Followed by a Q+A session with the artist and a reception
Cherie Dre is a work-in-progress solo performance about the showgirl alter ego of Sacha Yanow’s grandmother who suffered from bipolar disorder before the invention of modern treatments. Set in the 1950’s, the performance unfolds in two places simultaneously: her grandmother’s bedroom in the Bronx and a ballroom at the Concord resort hotel in the Catskills. The artist embodies her own imagining of Cherie Dre through covers of the Yiddish pop songs by the Barry Sisters, dance routines, monologues, and “dialogues.” As with Yanow’s previous work, this piece weaves together personal experience with broader social histories through physical storytelling and queer embodying. Specifically, Cherie Dre excavates the artist’s relationship to gender and femininity, magical thinking, gambling, and performing, alongside the history of the Borscht Belt, Jewish entertainers, and McCarthy era witch hunts.
Yanow, who has been developing the piece for the past year, spent one month in residence at Denniston Hill to continue her research by gathering personal histories from local relatives and community members as well as mining the archives of Sullivan County’s historical records, where Denniston Hill and the Concord Hotel are located.
The performance took place at our co-presenters, the nearby Hurleyville Arts Centre (HAC) in Hurleyville, NY, in their new state-of-the-art 150 seat theater.
Development support for Cherie Dre was provided by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Process Space Residency (March, 2016), and by a residency-based exhibition at the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College (September 9–October 9, 2016), curated by Stephanie Snyder.
This project is made possible in part with funding from a Sullivan County Arts & Heritage Grant funded by the Sullivan County Legislature and administered by Delaware Valley Arts Alliance.