ARCHIVE

The Split Britches Archives are housed at New York University’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and Fales Library and Special Collections.

The Split Britches virtual archives can be accessed through the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (which provides a digital venue for documenting the expression of social and political life through performance in the many cultures and political landscapes of the Americas).  To view the digital materials online, please view the Split Britches Artist Profile.

The Split Britches physical archives can be viewed at Fales Library as part of the Downtown Collection (which documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scenes from 1975 to the present).  To view the primary materials, please directly make an appointment with Fales Library.

Contacting Fales Library

Hours:  Monday – Thursday, 10:00am – 5:45pm, and Friday 9:00am – 4:45pm
Phone:  212-998-2596
Email:  fales.library@nyu.edu

 

LIST OF WORKS

Below you can find a complete list of Split Britches works dating from 1980 to the present day. Documentation of many of our works are available via the Hemispheric Institute's Archives and all are linked below. 

 

MISS AMERICA (2009)

In MISS AMERICA, Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver turn their unapologetic critique and riotous humor loose on the dissolution of the American Dream. A beauty pageant on a landfill full of too much information in the midst of a giant storm, MISS AMERICA exposes what is lost in a society that is still hopelessly clinging to winning.  Written and performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, Sound and music by Vivien Stoll, Choreography by Stormy Brandenberger.

 

LOST LOUNGE (2009)

Lost Lounge is a tribute to last holdouts–both the people and the places people gather to face or fend off encroaching cultural extinction. Recreating their favorite lounge acts like Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Mike Nichols, and Elaine May, Shaw and Weaver attempt to rescue some old haunts of the newly gentrified Bowery Corridor and resurrect some old entertainers who, except for an occasional outing on You-tube, might otherwise fade into a black and white memory. Written and performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, Sound and music by Vivien Stoll, Choreography by Stormy Brandenberger.

 

RETRO(PER)SPECTIVE (2007 - PRESENT)

"Retro Perspective" is a short medley of old Split Britches hits that provides a humorous slant on Peggy Shaw's and Lois Weaver's last thirty years of work and play. In "Small House," two explorers lay claim to the same territory. These people have known each other for a long time. They occupy a house that has been divided and subdivided by time and bad habits. They sit on a porch, watch the horizon, and wait for the weather to change. Their only hope is an audience.

Video

 

WHAT TAMMY NEEDS TO KNOW (2004 - PRESENT)

What Tammy Needs To Know is a performance installation that incorporates autobiographical text, original music and a trailer trash crash course on art, Tupperware and new math conducted by country western singer turned lesbian performance artist, Tammy WhyNot.  Written and performed by Lois Weaver. Music by Paul Clark.

 

 

TO MY CHARGIN (2003)

To My Chagrin matches Shaw with drummer Vivian Stoll to create a tender rock n’ roll lullaby from a cross-dressing grandma to her mixed-race grandson. An old run down pick up truck, R & B soul classics, and video projects of her beloved grandson make for a piece of rowdy humor and social criticism.  Written by Peggy Shaw in collaboration with Vivien Stoll and directed by Lois Weaver and performed by Peggy Shaw and Vivien Stoll.

 

DOUBLE AGENCY: "Miss Risque" & "It's A Small House And We've Lived In It Always" (2002)

In It’s a Small House and We Lived in it Always, two explorers lay claim to the same territory. These people have known each other for a long time. They occupy a house the size of a small stage, a house divided and subdivided by time and bad habits. They sit on the porch, watch the horizon, and wait for the weather to change. Their only hope is an audience.  Written by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver,  Suzy Willson, and Paul Clark.  Directed by Suzy Willson.  Performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver.

Miss Risqué is a story of secrets and showgirls in turn-of-the-century Paris, where working-class girls could become rich and famous, prostitutes could pass for nobility, women could have open affairs with women, and sex wasn’t exclusive to the marital bed.  Written by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, Suzy Willson, Paul Clark.  Performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver.

Video

 

MISS RISQUE (2001)

Miss Risqué is a story of secrets and showgirls in turn-of-the-century Paris, where working-class girls could become rich and famous, prostitutes could pass for nobility, women could have open affairs with women, and sex wasn’t exclusive to the marital bed.  Written by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver of Split Britches and Suzy Willson and Paul Clark of Clod Ensemble and performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver.

Video

 

IT'S A SMALL HOUSE AND WE'VE LIVED IN IT ALWAYS (1999)

In It’s a Small House and We Lived in it Always, two explorers lay claim to the same territory. These people have known each other for a long time. They occupy a house the size of a small stage, a house divided and subdivided by time and bad habits. They sit on the porch, watch the horizon, and wait for the weather to change. Their only hope is an audience.  Written by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver of Split Britches and Suzy Willson and Paul Clark of Clod Ensemble, directed by Suzy Willson and performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver.

Video

 

SALAD OF THE BAD CAFE (1999)

Salad of the Bad Café is a postmodern cabaret inspired by Carson McCullers’ novel Salad of the Sad Café and the lives of Tennessee Williams and Yukio Mishima. The play begins in 1945, a period of confusion in postwar Japan and the American South. A cast of characters who represent race, gender, and regional stereotypes include the drunken homosexual writer, the mutant refugee, the geisha, and the faded southern belle. The piece combines poetry, visual humour and dance in an attempt to demystify the Queer, disorientate the Orient and dymythify the Southern Gothic and the American Grotesque.  Written and performed by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, and Stacy Makishi.

Video

 

LITTLE WOMEN, THE TRAGEDY (1998)

Inspired by the life and work of the Louisa Mae Alcott Little Women, The Tragedy explores the chills and thrills of feminism, pornography and censorship.  Written and performed by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, and Deb Margolin.

Video

 

 

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS HOUSE (1997)

Video

 

FAITH AND DANCING (1996)

Lois Weaver’s autobiographical journey from an early life growing up a strict Southern Baptist in 1950’s Virginia to lesbian femme in the 1990’s. In Weaver’s exploration, faith meets science and sermons meets striptease and she reconciles how a youthful evangelist became an aging exhibitionist. 

Video

 

MENOPAUSAL GENTLEMAN (1996)

Peggy Shaw’s bluesy, pseudo-stream-of-consciousness lounge act about a butch lesbian going through “the change.” Shaw riffs on the hormonal effects of menopause complete with hot flashes, cold sweats, humor and tears, penetrating and perpetuating the mystery in an unlikely persona. She is a tough-speaking film-noir soul performed in Shaw’s trademark drag patois (a self conscious and artificially low New Yorkese), or to put it simply: a tough guy in a swell suit!

Video

 

LUST AND COMFORT (1994)

Three storylines examining the ups and downs of a long term relationship and the changing terrain of sexual desire. Using cross-dressing characters and movie references to “The Servant” and “The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant,” Shaw and Weaver address how lesbians invent their lives out of popular heterosexual cultural references.

Video

 

YOU'RE JUST LIKE MY FATHER (1993)

In You’re Just Like My Father Shaw pieces together the challenges of growing up butch in the 1950’s with a combination of both toughness and vulnerability. Using male role models such as an Army officer and Elvis, Shaw explores the controversial relationship between a butch and her mother, offering both affirmation and criticism. Written and performed by Peggy Shaw.

Video

 

LESBIANS WHO KILL (1992)

In Lesbians Who Kill, Shaw and Weaver are May and June, a couple who go very “wrong.” The play looks at what might motivate women and lesbians in particular to become killers and serial ones at that.  

Video

 

ANNIVERSARY WALTZ (1990)

A celebration of Lois and Peggy’s 10-year relationship, created 15 years before the debate on gay marriage, it is a commentary on the tendency to couple and a critique on the institution of marriage. At the same time it is a tribute to long term relationships sustained through creative work and an appropriation of the “husband-and-wife team” identities represented in vaudeville variety acts, comedy duos and musical duets. 

Video

 

BELLE REPRIEVE (1990)

Collaborating with legendary gay/drag performers Bloolips, Shaw and Weaver take on Tennessee Williams’ “Streetcar Named Desire” and the mythic proportions of Stanley and Blanche. Both steamy and hysterical, Belle Reprieve looks at gay and lesbian sex in the 1940’s and both honors Williams and turns him on his head. Written and performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver of Split Britches and Bette Bourne and Paul Shaw of Bloolips.

Video

 

DRESS SUITS TO HIRE (1987)

Dress Suits for Hire uses images from pulp fiction and film noir to portray the erotic cat and mouse relationship between characters Deluxe and Michigan, two women who live in a clothing store. Heated fantasies, brassy broads and sexual charades make for a carnivorous free-for-all. 

Video

 

PATIENCE AND SARAH (1987)

Video

 

UPWARDLY MOBILE HOME (1984)

A troupe of actors plot how to survive in Reagan’s 1984 America while camping out under the Brooklyn Bridge in a contest to win a mobile home.  Written and performed by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver and Deb Margolin.

Video

 

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1982)

Based on the classic fairy tale, influenced by the long rule of republican politics and informed by the Christian agenda that dominates the US scene up till the present, it is the personal journey of a Salvation Army woman who plays the good and beautiful daughter who secretly wants to be bad, a Rabbi in pink toe shoes who is relegated to the role of the father and longs to be a stand-up comic, and an 86-year-old lesbian vaudeville freak who embraces the role of the Beast and comments on politics by forgetting which play she is in.

Video

 

SPLIT BRITCHES, THE TRUE STORY (1980)

A tender and ridiculous portrait of three of Weaver’s eccentric aunts who lived in their own in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the 1930’s. The  Christain Science Monitor called this signature performance‘a tiny masterpiece’.  Written and performed by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver and Deb Margolin.

Video