When excess becomes disturbing: Bourgeois & Maurice are Pleasure Seekers
- Credit: Peter Fingleton
Greek philosophy, high fashion, and 80's children TV presenters: these are things you may not think gel together, but Bourgeois & Maurice plan to prove you wrong.
The duo are known best for their satirical musical performances and high-fashion design, citing both drag queen culture and the ultra-kitsch as two influences.
GEORGE: "A mix of high and low culture, for want of a better term, is absolutely our happy place. We might look at catwalks and see what's happening there, but also looking at Timmy Mallett and Peewee Herman.
"With this show, there's a lot of references to kid's parties, kitsch, and the murky side of ultra-capitalism and excess. I really like that as an aesthetic even though I find it ultimately quite disturbing."
LIV: "I feel that's really born out of the 80's kid's TV period, as well. It was all a bit over the top- there was no moral compass. Now the BBC is like, 'everything's going to have a great message.' Before, it was just 'Cover your parents in loads of crap!'"
One of the main ideas behind Pleasure Seekers is the philosophy of hedonism: a word used for theories which place pleasure at the centre of decision making.
LIV: "We were very interested in hedonism even pre-Covid. Questions like, what can hedonism be, what are the liberations and the trappings that it can bring? Then, after lockdown, everything felt so puritan and constrained. We need to release.
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"Lockdown was really weird. It was hard for everyone in every industry in different ways. I don’t want to be a, sort of, bleeding heart, poor old us…"
GEORGE: "I do."
LIV: "But it was very hard in the performing arts. The things is, it wasn't just 'oh, we can't earn money', it was also that my whole identity, my existence, my way of being changed."
However, Liv can't help but muse on the positives that came out of being in lockdown.
LIV: "It was an interesting time for reflection and recalculation of, like, 'What are we doing? Is this still what I want to do?' and my answer was that I do."
George had a similar experience. Being married to a doctor in infectious diseases meant that, in March 2020, George had to reassess his feelings of importance, having just finished a long run of Bourgeois & Maurice show.
GEORGE: "The pandemic started, performing absolutely fell off a cliff, and suddenly my husband's job was really important. It was a real reckoning of self-identity, of thinking 'oh, my job is kind of... pointless. It's completely disposable.' It's been a process of reassessing that and realising that actually there's a lot of value in what we do."
He adds, "There is a moment in this new show where they have an existential crisis and sing 'What Am I Doing With My Life?', so I think the pandemic has absolutely found its way into the new show."
The two of them differ from their on-stage alter-egos (full names: Georgois Bourgeois and Maurice Maurice) in a number of ways.
GEORGE: "Bourgeois is a total extrovert and can't take anything seriously. For me, it's such a release, because I'm actually very introverted, which I think is common for a lot of performers."
LIV: "I talk too much, say too much, go on long stories and never stop and then go 'oh god what was my point?' I have this desperate need to make everyone know I'm listening and I'm engaged. But Maurice... doesn't wanna be there, doesn't wanna talk to anyone, doesn't care about anyone, and doesn't care what they think of her. There's a pleasure in exploring this side of identity that I don't normally have."
Bourgeois & Maurice are back with a spectacular 21-night run of their brand-new show Pleasure Seekers from 5th April -30th April 2022 . Tickets are available now from www.sohotheatre.com.