Time: Variable
Space: Variable

Musical score:
"I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy" by Antony and the Johnsons
Video Documentation:
promo / butoh / cebu-kukuk's 1 / cebu-kukuk's 2 / manila / dumaguete-boulevard / dumaguete-jutsz cafe
Photo Documentation:
by Katja Zialcita/ Sam Kho / Around / Around 2
Other Media: "You will go" poem by Russ Ligtas
Insight: The Evolution of Mdm B. Niyaan

Mdm B. Niyaan is a loosely autobiographical intermedia performance piece based on Russ Ligtas' first alter-ego and serial character. The performance incorporates Butoh, music, video art, audience participation, collaborations with other artists and the public, as well as appropriations of various material from the artist's personal journey that informs much of the piece.

Mdm B. Niyaan began as an autobiographical take on John Luther Long’s character Madame Butterfly in a piece for the collective performance show XO? In LOVE. Donning a black kimono, an androgynous and almost expressionless mask and carrying a red parasol, Mdm B. Niyaan was the first alter-ego to be created in the current series of character-based performances. Her first appearance was with XO? Performance Art Group in a piece with Liyo Denorte as "the devil" accompanied by the late musician and fellow XO? member Winston Velez.

In the performance, Mdm B. Niyaan sang Bjork Gudmundsdottir's Unravel whilst quite literally interpreting the song with her pumice heart in hand wrapped in red yarn which the devil unravels throughout the duration of the performance. The piece was later restaged in award-winning playwright Crispin Ramos' Bantawan Theatre in Visitacion as part of the retrospective XO? show The Best of XO?. In this version, the devil is replaced by a red balloon, released into the sky, unravelling the yarn and revealing the state of Mdm B. Niyaan's heart.

The staging of the earlier performances ranged from a full narrative of B. Niyaan for a sit-down audience to condensed versions performed in smaller venues for shorter programs. Almost always, the artist changing into the Mdm B. Niyaan persona is included within the performance, taking off his clothes and putting on the woman's garb. The performance most often ends with B. Niyaan changing back into the artist as well. A modified version of the song I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy by Antony & the Johnsons is sung to begin the performance in the condensed versions and is punctuated by the reading of the poem You Will Go written by the artist. Alternately, any fitting song e.g. the Visayan folk song Usahay can be sung in the beginning as well. Also, B. Niyaan's appearance is sometimes simplified to a comprehensive Butoh dance revealing her story exclusively through movement and non-verbal speech.

The piece has been retitled Mdm. B. Niyaan is Russ Ligtas and has been reconfigured into an intermedia performance. The piece adopts the program of an intimate rite, a step-by-step exercise to extricate destructive emotions embodied by the created persona. The performance now incorporates Butoh, music, video art projections, audience participation, collaborations with other artists and the public, as well as appropriations of various material from the artist’s personal journey that informs the performance narrative.