playwright poet mystic

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I first encountered Jocelyn Woods in last year’s Seven Days feature. I was entranced, immediately spamming the link out to everyone I knew. Her work is erotic, uncomfortable, arcane – and all the other ten-dollar words I slap on art I love.  And – perish the thought – Lady Woods feels the same way about my work. I’m writing this post upon her request, but all opinions within it are my own.

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Jocelyn and I share the same demented passion for the sexual and the spiritual in concert. I appreciate sexuality for its command of high and low alike. It’s both transcendent and crude. It draws the divine down into the animal. Jocelyn’s images come the closest I’ve ever seen to articulating that ineffable union, and I’m honored not only to know her in person but to share artistic goals and projects with her. In fact, I’m going to play a naked forest nymph in one of her video projects next weekend. There will be a post about that, I’m sure.

But ultimately, it’s hard to summarize Lady Wood’s ethos in my own words, so I’ll let her use her own:

“I would like to portray, through an ongoing collaborative project, my encounters of Erotic Union with the Divine–highly sexually charged “raptures” that unveil the blinding core of being.

To go beyond the procreative urge, beyond even the societal concepts of the sexual revelation, to manifest a Sexual Apocalypse, in the original Greek meaning of apokolypsis: to unveil that which had been hidden; to disrobe.”

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Lady Woods also lives with a neuromuscular disease so rare it is yet unnamed. Lesser women might crumble, but our Lady summons everything raw and complex that her condition entails and uses it to hit artistic nerves. She’s not afraid to instill a little discomfort; she’s not afraid to use the word “cripple”. It’s courageous to be publicly sexual in a nonconforming body. It’s something I relate to in small ways, being chubby and in recovery from an eating disorder as I am. I will not lay claim to her experiences, but if I can find even one note of connection in them, then her work, as far as I’m concerned, is a success.

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And now she needs your consideration, art enthusiasts Vermonter and not. Lady Woods is currently crowdfunding for a new film based on her theatrical work: Hysteria Praecox: Precocious Wanderings of a Womb. I’ll spare you the tedium of quoting her entire mission statement when you can click the link yourself, but here’s a snippet:

My name is Jocelyn Woods, a playwright/poet/mystic living in Cambridge, VT, and I am the writer, director and lead actor in HYSTERIA PRAECOX. This autumn, in collaboration with world-renowned art photographer and filmmaker Claude Charlebois of Montreal, I will be bringing my Shakespearean-inspired bardic theatre to the cinematic medium.  HYSTERIA PRAECOX is a full feature-length movie  in which we meet an ancient Goddess fallen from her throne in a state of exile. From within her feral grotto, she discovers a manuscript that comes to life with the story of her alter ego, The Fool.  Inspired by a personal miracle of bodily resurrection and combining theatre, music, dance, human puppetry and multisensory stimuli, we will be to be filming HYSTERIA PRAECOX this autumn, on-site in locations throughout Vermont and Quebec.

Please consider tossing a few bucks her way if this sounds like something you’d like to see. I know I’ll be doing so.

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“Unhindered by the heavy chains of belief systems which deny and condemn the body as a corrupt condition of sin allows one to enter a rapture beyond the iconic saintly portrayals eulogized in history. To realize the body and soul are but inseparable components, facilitates the alchemical recipe of resurrected immortal flesh.”

Words to fuck by.

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