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Cast, Performance Event 2011

Through role expectations and elaborate clothing, Cast contemplates traditional American wedding rituals. The wedding gown is thought to contain the transformative power to elevate even the plainest woman from her quotidian life into a beautiful bride. Through the narrative act of “getting ready”, the semi-public undressing and dressing serves as a metaphor for the imagined metamorphosis from maiden to bride/ ugly to beautiful/ poor to rich/ unknown to icon. The cast exaggerates the uncomfortable and constrictive clothing that is nostalgic to a time when a women’s lack of movement facilitated the idea of her helpless femininity. Its restrictiveness is also indicative of the role expectations that are assumed during the ritual being just as uncomfortable and restraining as the dress itself. Just as a broken bone is placed inside a cast to heal, women are often thought of as incomplete and marriage is viewed as a chrysalis resulting in completion.

The bride gives up her agency and accepts this act of dressing as something being done to her rather than doing for herself. Succumbing to the confines of the chrysalis, she becomes encased in her desire to fit the role of the bride, ultimately being trapped immobile in the dress as it dries.
It is the groom who frees her from the chrysalis symbolizing that her self-actualization is dependent upon completion of societal mores.