Monday, August 18, 2014

Dayana Stetco, "Living in a Suit"

A marvelous fiction-writer, playwright, and director (and, I suspect, producer, on-set psychoanalyst, and floorsweep), Dayana Stetco’s established a kind of shadow government for her theatrical productions in the form of persistently fascinating production blogs for her more recent works (see You want process? Abandon all hope, ye who enter there. One of the crucial considerations of that process, of course, is mastering the many media (or at least, accommodating them) that must be harnessed to mount a play. (Having been a playwright/director myself in the past, the unruly stallion imagery comes to mind unbidden.) The piece she’s given us—a "motto" (her word), a brief clip from The Perfect Human, a meditation on an image of masculinity, a set of stills from her play Noir (and one shot of Cary Grant), and a sentence from The Perfect Human—is a fine indicator of the ways in which images provoke meditations that provoke further images—and so on, and so on, and so on. (JM)

            Living in a Suit

“Why does he move like that? How does he move like that?” 

Before Jorgen Leth’s The Perfect Human, before the first Bond adaptation, before Alain Delon’s Le Samoura├» and Jon Hamm’s Don Draper, before Christian Bale’s ultraviolent Patrick Bateman and Idris Elba’s reluctantly heroic Luther (“You’re totally epic”) – an image that captures the perfect blend of masculinity and charm, a monochromatic subtlety to which we no longer have access: Cary Grant in a beautifully tailored suit. Single-breasted jacket, forward-pleat trousers, white shirt with double cuff, gray silk tie. The glen check fabric. The monogrammed cufflinks. The flow, the elegance, the promise of a perfectly tailored suit. Cary Grant, the man who “knew how to wear clothes,” moving effortlessly from scene to scene with a simplicity that baffles. The man, the suit, a certain economy of movement that translates so well to the screen, to the stage, a refinement impossible to resist – nostalgia for things we haven’t encountered in reality in a very long time.

“Today, too, I experienced something that I hope to understand in a few days” (The Perfect Human, 1967)

Dayana Stetco is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her book, Seducing Velasquez and Other Plays, was released by Ahadada Books in 2009. Her plays have been produced in the U.S., her native country, Romania, and the UK, and her fiction, plays and translations have appeared in several journals including Requited, Two Lines, Packingtown Review, The Means, Emergency Almanac, mark(s), BathHouse Hypermedia Art Journals, Metrotimes, Gender(f), Masque and Spectacle.  She is the co-editor of Audition: A Journal of Drama and Interdisciplinary Performance. In 2000 she founded the theatre ensemble, The Milena Group (

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