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Penny Arcade, Deborah Margolin

The Knitting Factory

Penny Arcade and Deborah Margolin are two artists who, despite important differences, share similar approaches to performance. Margolin began hers by asking the audience for feedback about the way she was dressed. Arcade, who followed Margolin, began by getting her appearance ready while she addressed the audience. When Margolin left the stage and sat in the audience, Arcade, coming on stage from the audience, sardonically complimented her. They carried on a sassy exchange about differences in their work, their appearances, and their backgrounds. Part of the audience’s enjoyment came from the crossing of this line between “who’s on” and “who’s watching.” Both performers brought to the surface the audience’s relationship to performance by a kind of scrambling of who—audience or performers—see themselves projected in the other.

Margolin played the Supreme Court,comically undermining the

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