Video

Fickle as Poison

Andrea Cooper

2008, 15:00 minutes, colour, English

TAPECODE 788.09

Fickle as Poison is the tale of Mary and Frank; a poignant chronicle of tumultuous desire and mysterious death. Actor Susan Kent (Hatching, Matching & Dispatching) plays both characters.

Based on a story told to the artist by her grandmother, Fickle as Poison is about Frank who fancies his drink and his women, and Mary who has fallen desperately in love with him. She decides to marry another man. On her wedding day, a drunk Frank shoots off a gun. In Newfoundland and Irish tradition, a gun shot off to celebrate the nuptials as a sign of good-luck. As the story goes, Mary's face was badly scarred as the bullet tore past her face. It burned a small ditch into the side of her cheek. Frank later 'disappears' and Mary becomes increasingly unsettled and haunted by his memory.

The nature of storytelling is that stories are retold. They demand retelling. Fickle as Poison is the artist's attempt to rewrite a family story. In the retelling through video, a new arrangement of the key elements, and a wild imagination demanded that fresh material be injected into the existing text. The story needed to be told again.

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