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My Dinner with Bernard Frechtman


My Dinner with Bernard Frechtman is a solo performance piece that blends theatrical, literary, and academic idiom. It charts the obsession of a graduate student and performance artist named Shonni Enelow with the midcentury translator and critic Bernard Frechtman, most famous as Jean Genet’s first American translator and literary agent, who killed himself in the mid-1960s. Shonni Enelow falls in love with Frechtman, and through her repeated attempts to contact his old girlfriend, the now-famous academic Annette Michelson, she explores the ghostly inscrutability of Frechtman as a metaphor for the desire for, and the impossibility of, total knowledge of either the object of study or the object of love. Serge Gainsbourg’s classic “Les Dessous Chics [Chic underwear],” on which the two parts of the piece hinge, crystallizes the paradox: chic underwear, the metonym for total exposure, is actually what prevents it.

My Dinner with Bernard Frechtman; by and with Shonni Enelow
Directed by Josh Hoglund; Video by Sunita Prasad; Sound by David Herman; and Lights by Christine Shallenberg

Shonni Enelow writes about literature and culture for both academic and popular audiences. She is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is completing a dissertation on Method acting as a theory of the subject. Shonni received a BFA in Theater from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Her plays have been performed in New York and Los Angeles, at the Williamstown Theater Festival, and at Small Press Traffic’s Poets Theater in San Francisco. Her poetry has appeared most recently in PomPom, Birddog, and Try, and her mini-chapbook “Nietzsche is a Girl, or, Shonni and Kathleen Have Boyfriends,” was recently released as a Supermachine spirit gift. Critical writing has appeared in Alef Magazine, Theater Topics, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. She is a member of the editorial board at the Brooklyn-based Supermachine poetry journal, and writes regularly for the web edition of The New York Times Style Magazine.

Dates + Times
April 30–May 2
8–10pm, Sunday at 5pm

Reservations required (Name, Date, Party Size)
$10 Suggested Donation

The Main Gallery
51 Bergen St.

Earlier Event: April 24
The Artists Will be Present
Later Event: May 27
Maelström Festival