EDWA 2020: Kyah Dove

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

04/12/2020 - 04/12/2020

Production Details

Kyah Dove; To Cut a Mermaid’s Tongue, with live music by Motte

A surreal erotic horror, diving into the political waters of mermaids and other sea monsters.

I know you have come here for my sexual empowerment.
I know you like how that sounds,
moaning in all of your sex-positive, feminist day-dreams.
But first, let me tell you about a time my tongue was hacked from my mouth
and how my empowerment lay dead at my human feet,
my voice too deadly to speak.

Let my silence drip all over your skin.
Let it make you sit uncomfortably in your seat.
Let it make you wet,
with the weeping wounds of my grandmothers.
Let it make you so wet, I’ll think you’re my tears.

Let it comfort you.
Let it make you feel like you’re not alone.

Let it cradle you at night.
Let it frighten you.

I am your worst nightmare.
I am your most beautiful fantasy.

A feminist interrorgation of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid and other European mermaid myths and stories, ‘To Cut a Mermaid’s Tongue’ works with a healing modality called trauma-informed erotic care, as a pathway to restoring our sensuous selves; to rewild our sexuality and voices and bring harmony to our inner waters. It is a ritual for divine justice with the intention of reimagining and redefining these misrepresented creatures, both feared and revered for their luring songs and seductive nature.

‘To Cut a Mermaid’s Tongue’ is created and performed by professional strippers, who, like mermaids, are both demonised and exoticised for their erotic power; exiled from society….forever floating between two different worlds.

Contains nudity, sexual content, references to violence and themes that may disturb.


Herald Theatre, 9pm

Performance installation , Multi-discipline , Experimental dance , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

1 hour

Magical mermaid beings

Review by Rewa Fowles 05th Dec 2020

Pink, white, fleshy, clothe chained above the ceiling.
Below a small pool of glittery bloody water.
One mermaid lays down on a dark sheet, another sits by a mirror flat on the ground.
Both mermaids are attached by stockings like an umbilical cord between a past and future
self or two souls forever there for each other whether they like it or not.

The projector pops on of lips caressing each other gentle.
Tongues wrap over and under.
Violin picking and stroking.
Watching the reflection of moving mouths on a vibrating pool of glittery blood and over the
sheet of glass of inception forever watching.
Like the deep sexual desires humans want but never talk about
If any human dare speak of it, dare act on it
Society must shame them.

Mermaids gradually move to sudden stops and flops of the arms and hands
Alluring strokes of platinum blond hair
Powerful dagger like latex heals
With nails pointy at the ready
A hand and its razor like nails glisten over the mirror
We humans ignorant of what magic is in store for us

I think of old stories of cis hetero white men who go off in a ship to find and take, isolated
in the deep dark blue of the ocean.
Unaware of the consequences of their actions.
Unaware of their own toxic masculinity crave for femininity yet fear its power.
During their travels the ship is met with angelic somber voices
Violin screams
Mermaids grabbing and unlocking their mouths wide open. Let go. Their hands trickle
down their bodies with sudden slaps of the skin like the power of waves flowing and hitting
against earth.
These men of the ship follow the voices to find these magical beings.
Sirens Mermaids
The humans afraid of their own sexuality see them nothing more than sexual fantasies
The men disappear into the depths of the ocean never to be seen again.

Strippers and mermaids form strength in muscle, skin and bone
Unapologetic bodies and souls
Often misunderstood.
Often taken advantage of.
Find healing in movement and power that has never left.
Coming together the two hold a velvet sheet as long tongues attached
Scissors come out resting on flesh their eyes look deep into us
Some of us afraid of the sharp material so close to their tongues
Now ripping and cutting of the sheet begins, voice almost taken away.

The two mermaids come together, caring for each other pouring the silky blood on to each
others skin.
The blood drips and splashes off the tips of their nails.
The reflection of the water appears on the projector like a moon watching over them.
The space goes RED
Holding hands, lips parted
Despite tongues cut the voices are still here beaming.
Breath taking the audience rises in applause.


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