The Headless Woman is a monologue by Shawna Dempsey that recounts a revelatory love story between a headless woman and a sword-swallowing man. It was performed live with a pianist and bass clarinetist who provide emphatic musical interludes and interjections and create a cabaret-style atmosphere. Throughout the monologue, a video plays in the background featuring characters performing spectacular circus acts: a woman vacuums over Niagara Falls on a tightrope, a bearded lady’s beard subsumes her, and a human cannonball is propelled into the sky flying infinitely. These acts of showmanship become metaphors for what the artists call “…risk and danger, the complexity of desire, and the many parts (and absences) that make up one’s identity.

Shooting Format


Additional Details

Available Subtitle


Screening Formats

  • DVD,
  • H.264,


Provided By

  • Video Pool Media Arts Centre