“Before Elvis, there was nothing!” – John Lennon
In August 2019 Elvis Presley will have been dead for over forty years, yet he remains the biggest cultural icon of our time. His influence has spread across the globe, despite the fact that only left the USA twice in his lifetime. Elvis has come to embody the American myth of success. He is the American Dream come true – where else could a boy, a lone surviving twin born in abject poverty, grow up to be King? His image sells magazines, books, CDs, all types of clothing, and even sweat.
Elvis has become an ersatz religion with fans worshiping at his grave and his home Graceland has become Holy Ground and a site of pilgrimage. The writing on the flagstone wall surrounding the final residence and resting place of Elvis Presley has become an overwhelming documentation of love and devotion, with fan graffiti covering every square inch.
Quite the opposite of a conventional wall meant to keep intruders out, this structure gives fans a sense of warmth, welcoming and camaraderie. The wall has been signed by millions of people, including celebrities, politicians and fans from around the world. This phenomenon started while Elvis was still alive and the grounds keepers worked diligently to keep the wall clean. After Elvis died at the age of 42 on August 16, 1977, the estate decided to leave the wall alone; taking fans seriously as authors of Elvis’ memory and the makers of places that honor him.
…”if any individual of our time can be said to have changed the world, Elvis Presley is the one. In his wake more than music is different. Nothing and no one looks or sounds the same. His music was the most liberating event of our era because it taught us new possibilities of feeling and perception, new modes of action and appearance, and because it reminded us not only of his greatness, but of our own potential.” – Greil Marcus: Mystery Train, 1975.
GRACELAND by Ellen Byron
The place is the front entrance of GRACELAND, the late Elvis Presley’s Memphis mansion. The time, five o’clock in the morning, three days before the estate is to be opened to the public. Two ardent Presley fans are camped out before the gates, each determined to be the first to enter the sacred precincts.
Bev Davies is totally dedicated to Elvis Presley and demands nothing less from others.
Rootie Mallert is naïve, shy and uneducated except for her encyclopedic knowledge of all things Elvis.
Featuring Lily Grabill as ROOTIE and Helen Khorrami as BEV
Photos by Uka Meissner deRuiz
Thursday, May 16 at 20:00 hrs in THEATER AM OLGAECK
Thursday, May 23 at 19:00 hrs in THEATER AM OLGAECK during the INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR THEATRE FESTIVAL
Friday, May 31 at 19:30 hrs in Munich during FEATS 2019 – Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies
Thursday, June 13 at 20:00 hrs in MERLIN