The Evolution of Mdm B. Niyaan

Mdm B. Niyaan (as in the cebuano "Biniyaan" meaning abandoned) began as an adapation of Madame Butterfly in an autobiographical performance discussing the subject of love. Donned in a black ceremonial kimono, an androgynous almost expressionless mask and carrying a red parasol, Mdm B. Niyaan was the first character created among all the other alter-egos. Her first appearance was with XO? performance art group in a piece with Liyo Denorte as "the devil" with accompanying music by the late great musician Winston Velez. In the performance, Mdm B. Niyaan sang B. Gudmundsdottir's "unravel" whilst quite literally interpreting it 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.

before and after. (left photo by Liyo Denorte) Mdm B. Niyaan in 2008 (right photo by Janjan YbaƱez Perez) present

Now, Mdm B. Niyaan has evolved into an embodiment of the forsaken lover in us all. She is literally the "lady in waiting". Still in the skirt of her wedding gown, she waits and waits still, steadfast in her love as she slowly turns into a living ghost, lost in her own oblivion. She sings and dances of her absent love, and frequently relives her most painful and ecstatic moments in fits of violent reverie. For her, memory is as palpable as sweat, something she can taste and smell and feel and can sting her eyes and make her cry even more.

Photo by Katya Zialcita