Susanna Paiva

There will be no Saturday show at On the Boards this weekend because, the theater explains, Spanish solo performer Angélica Liddell needs to "heal" between performances. She is an endurance performer—a self-abuser who uses alcohol, razor blades, and other dangerous tools to, in her own words, "transform pain into something beautiful."

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Te Haré Invencible Con Mi Derrota (which translates to I Will Make You Invincible with My Failure) is Liddell's homage to British cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who rocketed to international acclaim in the 1960s, had to stop playing at the age of 28 due to multiple sclerosis, and died at the age of 42. I've not seen Liddell perform (Te Haré is her North American debut), but in video clips of the show, Liddell plays and abuses cellos, cutting into them with knives and shooting them with a paintball gun. She smokes while snarling about God. She slits into her legs with razor blades, making patterned cloth prints using her blood as ink. Even on video, she has the fury and intensity of Diamanda Galás.

In an e-mail interview, Liddell said she woke up at 42, the same age that du Pré died, "alone, humiliated, with the desire to shoot myself." That was three years ago.

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"I will nevermore be young," she continued. "And what's worse, I am a girl interred in an old body, a body that only produces disappointment—it's another form of being buried alive, like multiple sclerosis. I abuse my body because it's the only way I have to feel that I still have a body. If I have no pleasure, I have to feel my body through pain... I've been writing the same book for 15 years. When I was nine years old, my parents called the school because I had written a poem titled 'Loneliness.' And they took me to a psychiatrist. At 15, I wrote a work of 200 pages where everybody died. I have never liked life, nor people. And people don't really like me."

Welcome to Seattle, Ms. Liddell. We hope you enjoy your stay. Though that may be too much to ask. recommended