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Pilfering from the traditions of vaudeville, dance and performance art, Trevor Martin and Kym Olsen slip from monologue to dance, trousers to dresses, female to male, in a collection of 29 related incidents.  A Heretic's Primer on Love & Exertion reveals the duality of identity - probing the construction of gender, the manipulation of desire, and the colonization of the human body for various political, medical and religious agendas.


Embracing the unique concerns of adapting a stage performance to the film medium, 'A Heretic's Primer on Love & Exertion' is not documentation, but rather a reshaping of performative investigations into an original filmic work. Stealing inspiration from the live works of Martin and Olsen (Morganville), attention was shifted in filming to the potential of interactive cinematography. Camera movement and discontinuous editing are used to transport the viewer to multiple locations and time frames, slipping in & out of narrative logic.

An example of this can be seen in the 'Oh! Game' - a naughty version of Duck Duck Goose. Relying on chance and improvisation, the performers and camera follow the rules of this pseudo-erotic game in tandem, spinning & running around a chair on each other’s cue. Like a campy game of 'spin the bottle' – the revolving camera lands on diverse partners in a variety of locations, eventually winding itself into a blurred ecstatic frenzy.

"My own pantheon of 'really good dance films' is very small but Heretic's Primer went into the pantheon and has stayed there ever since."

-David Hinton, Film Director


"In A Heretic's Primer on Love & Exertion, the carefully calibrated elements that orbit and contain the central double presence of Trevor Martin and Kym Olsen (rooms, chambers, fields and fairgrounds, colors and costumes, even a small populace) spring like phantom envelopes projected from the performance’s innermost core. The stark visual clarity, precision of movement and speech, by turns joyful, mournful, dazzling, euphonic, protean, seem haunted by forces beyond the visible, captured from recesses of the mind. In the disquieting artifice of Morganville’s symptomatology, the puppet becomes the puppeteer, the vanished horse persists in the rider. The camera spins dervish-like, and we with it, in measured ecstasy – a restless revelation of what film can be."


- Matthew Goulish, Goat Island Performance Group

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Photos by Chi Jang Yin & Joseph Ravens All text & images property of Morganville and Danièle Wilmouth. © 2006 Danièle Wilmouth & Morganville 

"A highly-coloured picaresque world evolved from recurrent episodes of poker-faced text and task-based playfulness, with a movement vocabulary of clicks, swings, hops and jumps, linked and punctuated by a deftly rhythmic grammar of camera motion."

- Chirstinn Whyte, "Reframing the Dance Screen" 

RealTime Arts Magazine, Issue 89, Feb-March, 2008

Primary Cast & Crew 

Director / Producer                                                   Danièle Wilmouth

Writer / Producer / Performer                              Kym Olsen & Trevor Martin 

Director of Photography                                         Pete Biagi 

Production Design                                                    Joseph Ravens

Editor                                                                               Danièle Wilmouth

Circus Music                                                                 Mark Messing / Maestro-matic 

Oh! Game Music                                                          Split Lip Rayfield 

Poem ‘Naming’                                                             Nancy Mairs 

Production Manager / AD                                        Shayna Connelly 

Sound Design & Mix                                                   Lou Mallozzi 

This project was supported in part by a Faculty Enrichment Grant from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Community Arts Assistance Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and an the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Additional support from the Artist's Residency Program of Experimental Sound Studio. Fiscal sponsorship through an ensemble residency at Insight Arts Chicago - Craig Harshaw Executive Director. 

'A Heretic’s Primer' is being distributed by The Video Data Bank in Chicago.  

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