Fund Hannah Ballou’s new show! We need your help in raising the final funds to film goo:ga II, a performance project that combines live art and feminist comedy to address pregnancy, parenting, fetal illness and trauma. Due to the pandemic restrictions on performing to live audiences, we have adapted the work for film. Pledge your support, and help us make this happen!
Who is Dr. Hannah Ballou?
Dr. Hannah Ballou holds a PhD in feminist comic performance from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and is a comedian, performance artist, writer, and lecturer at Kingston University, London. Recent performance work includes Shhh, hoo:ha, goo:ga, Lambchop Magoo Does Brexit, and The Doctor Is In. She has written for McSweeney's and Comedy Studies. She is also known for her cabaret persona, Lambchop Magoo, and the Marina Abramopug Project. She produces Kingston Live Art, an annual performance festival for emerging student artists in west London.
‘My cheeks hurt from smiling!’ -Jo King, burlesque legend
'Marina Abramopug is the world's most important dog performance artist.'- Vocative
'We bow down to you, Abramopug' -Huffington Post
'This dog is the latest craze in contemporary art.'- Redesign Revolution
What is goo:ga?
goo:ga II follows on from Ballou’s 2016 live show goo:ga (watch it here!) which she made when she was 8 months pregnant with her first child. It was a feminist reclamation of fertility as spectacle, a queer resistance to the guilty pleasure of binary foetal gendering, and a neo-burlesque attempt to exploit multiple aesthetic modes of sexiness whilst harnessing the comic abjection of pregnancy. Most importantly, it was funny as hell. Ballou satirised American ‘gender reveal parties’ then put her own twist on one. She skewered celebrity ‘bump watch’ culture and then found her own way to do it which involved a lot more frosting. She even let the audience vote on her kid’s name.
...what is goo:ga II??
goo:ga II will ‘audit’ the results of the feminist parenting ideals expressed in goo:ga I by seeing what her now 4-year-old thinks about gender. (Watch the full preliminary interview with Georgia here) The piece also explores the impossibility of recreating a moment in time in autobiographical performance, drawing on inspiration from artists ranging from Ursula Martinez (Family Outing: 20 Years On) to Ali Wong (Hard Knock Wife) Even though the biological process is the same, everything is different in a second pregnancy, and there is much comic fodder in the fact that no one gives a sh*t about your second kid, except you.
Originally Ballou intended to stage goo:ga II as a live show, just like the first one. Then the pandemic made performing for a live audience in London in May 2021 a dubious prospect, and pregnancy waits for no one. She decided to adapt the performance for film and in turn expand opportunities for audiences everywhere to see it. Then disaster struck. At a routine 20 week scan, doctors identified an exceptionally rare heart anomaly in the fetus; a pulmonary AVM. There are so few recorded cases of this diagnosis in a foetus that they are not able to offer a confident prognosis; the baby might make it to delivery, in which case intervention is possible, or it might lead to a stillbirth.
A saner woman than Hannah Ballou might just scrap the project but her particular talent as an artist and comedian is in moulding the liveness of autobiographical experience into material. (She once found out she was pregnant live on stage!) As it’s being shot during the late stages of the now precarious pregnancy goo:ga II will feature her unique perspective from inside throes of a terrifying ordeal and offer an alternative voice for women facing down the unknown; there are not many comedy shows about stillbirth, but Ballou’s vulnerability coupled with her incisive brand of feminist humour will culminate in a one-of-a-kind performance.
Who is on the team?
The late Nigel, erstwhile Pug and star of Marina Abramopug
'Fetus' Triana Ballou
Georgia Triana Ballou - special guest performer
Peter Case - technical director
Peter is a director, designer, and actor with La MaMa ETC and a member of the Great Jones Repertory Company, as well as heading his own company, Three Bridges.
Alice Roots - producer
Alice is co-artistic director for performance company Figs in Wigs and has worked with other artists including: whatsthebigmistry, Katherine Araniello and Split Britches.
How your support will help
As time is of the essence, we have decided to crowdsource the remaining £4,700 we need in order to make this movie. Your support will afford us the following:
£2000 will go towards funding a film maker and editor
* with no camera, there will be no action *
£1000 will go towards funding a producer
* dealing with all the planning for the project, including Covid safety protocols *
£600 will go towards funding a technical director
* we definitely need some lights *
£800 will go towards funding three vital internship programmes in producing, stage management and marketing and distribution.
* It is important to us that opportunities are created for newcomers to the sector as well continuing to work with established freelancers. These hands-on internships will provide invaluable work experience and be instrumental to the project *
£300 will go towards funding a graphic designer to produce art work
* because every second child deserves their own poster! *
What are the risks and challenges?
We will film the production at Kingston University in May.
As the subject/object of the work is a pregnant body, the time frame for the project must have the precarity of the liveness of the situation built in; we need to reserve an initial 4-day shoot, and also a contingency shoot, in case medical or emotional circumstances require a rescheduling.
We will be working with Covid compliant measures in place, including an in-depth risk assessment, PPE and social distancing and team of only essential members. We are keeping an eye on Government Guidelines and will update and adapt our plans accordingly.
Other ways in which you can support goo:ga II
Share, share, share! Even if you can’t donate right now, helping get the word out about the project and fundraising campaign will be very much appreciated. Please spread far and wide on the social media of your choice!