Socially Distant, Except for the Dogs, Sheep and Chickens


“I’m launching myself maybe in a suicidal mission; I don’t know,” she said after rehearsal, sitting on the porch in a director’s chair and unleashing a long, bubbling laugh. At a safe social distance from me, she wore a floral mask that she removed only when she sipped from her bottle of kombucha, and added in her Italian lilt, “But it is an experiment.”

The show is a biodiversity sequel of sorts to “Green Porno,” the theatrical lecture she adapted from her captivatingly odd Sundance Channel series of film shorts, in which a surreally costumed Rossellini would act out the mating habits of bees, say, or earthworms, relating scientific facts with dramatic hilarity.

“Sex and Consequences,” which alternates live performance with shorts both old and new, is about genetic inheritance and social evolution, filtered through absurdity and abetted by playful design. The sheep will make an appearance, so keep your eyes peeled for Garbo, the shy, spotted one. Rossellini’s dog Morsi, who was billed as Pan in her 2018 stage piece “Link Link Circus,” — and who turns out to be an incorrigible chaser of chickens — grabs a bit of spotlight here, too.

And Rossellini, who is 68 and has a master’s degree in animal behavior and conservation from Hunter College, will once again don the costume she calls “my naked suit,” which she wore fleetingly in “Link Link.” It’s like a cheerful cartoon version of an unclothed female form.

Magid, the director, is best known as a founder of the juggling comedy troupe the Flying Karamazov Brothers. To him, the deadly serious topic beneath the humor of “Sex and Consequences” is what he sees as Rossellini’s real interest, “the very essence of life itself.”

“What she’s playing with,” he said later, by phone, “is everybody’s narrow vision of what sex is, and what is appropriate sex. She really blows out of the water all the different ways that nature has found to make life continue to regenerate.”

A curious thing about Rossellini, the daughter of famous parents — her mother was the Swedish film star Ingrid Bergman, her father the Italian neorealist director Roberto Rossellini — is that what she became famous for herself was not what she had originally hoped to do.



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