The Spinoff presents the video premiere of Tami Neilson’s ‘Devil in a Dress’, featuring the O’Neill Twins.
Tami Neilson says:
I was watching the TV series The Fall and there was a scene that directly inspired this song.
When a constable wants to use the word ‘innocent’ to describe the killer’s victims in a press release, Gillian Anderson’s character DSI Stella Gibson responds:
Let’s not refer to them as innocent…What if he kills a prostitute next or a woman walking home drunk, late at night, in a short skirt? Will they be in some way less innocent, therefore less deserving? Culpable? The media loves to divide women into virgins and vamps, angels or whores. Let’s not encourage them.
I was struck by her words and it made me ponder on how women are often portrayed in these one-dimensional ways. Even women of power throughout history are painted as one or the other.
Cleopatra – the vixen; Joan of Arc – the saint; Queen Elisabeth – pure and righteous; the list goes on.
The reality of the complexities of women is rarely portrayed. This song was my tongue-in-cheek way of challenging that. The O’Neill Twins, who also featured in my video for my first single, ‘Stay Outta My Business’, were the perfect fit to portray the two stereotypes – they are, visually, seemingly, the “same woman” in these different roles.
I love that they choreographed it so they move as one in the chorus, symbolising that they are both one-dimensional fantasies, albeit opposing ones. When it came time for my performance, immediately before the first take, director Anna Duckworth surprised me when she suggested I play the role of the over-the-top shopping network character. I channelled my best Joy Mangano and suddenly it sizzled with sarcasm, which was exactly what the song embodies.
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Directed by Anna Duckworth
Produced by Morgan Leigh Stewart
Choreographed and Performed by The O’Neill Twins
Tami Neilson – Sassafrass! New Zealand Tour 2018 With Special Guests The Miltones:
Thursday 26 July: Theatre Royal, Nelson
Friday 27 July: Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch
Saturday 28 July: Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin
Wednesday 1 August: Clarence Street, Hamilton
Thursday 2 August: Mtg Century Theatre, Napier
Friday 3 August: Opera House, Wellington
Saturday 4 August: Town Hall, Auckland
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