Performers attempt to solve eternal mystery of the mermaid

Performers will use a host of creative forms to solve – once and for all – the eternal mystery of the mermaid as the Marshall University Women’s Studies Program presents “Body Shots VIII – Mermaids” Wednesday, March 5, at the Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre, inside the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

The performance is free to the public. “Body Shots” is a unique collaborative effort involving Marshall students and faculty from across disciplines exploring themes relating to gender and the body. This year’s participants are from art and design, English, political science, history, sociology and anthropology, theatre and dance, among others.

From Hans Christian Andersen to Walt Disney, from Odysseus to Melville, in the deep of the wine dark sea and even here on the Ohio River, mermaids have kept people intrigued since antiquity.  The appearance of the legendary half-woman, half-fish could portend evil or signal miraculous good fortune.

Mermaids have long fueled the lust of the lonely sailor and inspired artists to create poems, songs, dances, films, and countless tattoos. Check out your coffee cup – she has even been appropriated as a corporate logo. What is the source of our fascination with this mythical being whose hybrid body destines her to a divided allegiance?

“Body Shots VIII:  Mermaids” takes the age-old fascination with the sea maiden as its jumping-off point.  Performers will use prose, performance art, dance, and theatre to recreate, re-envision, and solve the eternal mystery of the mermaid.

Prior to the performance, beginning at 7 p.m., there will be a reception and an art show featuring works by Marshall students and faculty.

In addition to Women’s Studies, the performance is being presented by the School of Art and Design, Sexuality Studies, the Department of History, the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, and the Women’s Center.  For more information, contact Dr. Greta Rensenbrink, director of Women’s Studies, by e-mail at, or by phone at 304-696-2955.