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SEASON 31 | MARCH 2019

Dog Magic: Woman’s Best Friend

Created and performed by Rachel Martin and Suze Kemper
AKA Hard Women
Presented by The VORTEX

An original new work exploring the profound and mysterious bond between women and their dogs.  Using visual art, performance art, monologues, movement, songs, tableaux vivant headdresses, dog ventriloquist dummies, flying marionettes, video interviews, audience interactions, a dog devotional shrine, and a dog version of “Zoltar the Great”, we will take you on a surreal and magical exploration of the unique inter-species relationship between girls and women and their canine companions. This Hard Women Extravaganza provides the cabaret, vaudeville, performance art event of the year.

The two-woman show draws on our relationships with dogs we have loved.  We will consider a dog’s life in mythology, history, and memory and consider how dogs speak to us and we to them. Special guest stars include Joseph Quintana and Elana Logsdon.

The visual aesthetic of Dog Magic is textured, tangible, and tactile.  Employing “craft,” a frequently maligned way of making art often associated with women, we have lovingly created costumes and a performance environment we invite the audience to explore and play with and in before and after the show and at intermission. Whenever possible, we have made the costumes, props, and set by hand from upcycled, reused and repurposed materials. 

This whimsical show is intended for an adult audience and no dogs will be performing live in Dog Magic.  We invite you to join us and to add the name of a dog you have loved to the devotional dog shrine that will grow during the run of the show

Let’s sit, stay, and play!


Rachel Martin is an Austin-based visual artist, performance artist and tango dancer.  She earned a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990, where she studied with seminal feminist performance artist Carolee Schneemann.  She is a founding member of the 1990’s performance art collective Hard Women and from 2003 to February 2019 was Assistant Dean, Student Affairs, of the College of Fine Arts at UT Austin. She has performed, danced and exhibited at many cultural venues in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston over her long artistic career.  Rachel most recently appeared at The VORTEX in November of 2017 as Life Dancer in Linda Mary Montano’s Interactionarama: Viewer Discretion Advised.  She is honored to have been the mother of two human beings and four Boston Terriers.

Suze Kemper is a visual artist, performance artist and printmaker. She earned a BFA in Studio Art at the University of Texas at Austin, where she assisted guest artist Terry Allen at the lithography press, studied performance with Carolee Schneemann, and performed with Eugenia Vargas in Michael Tracy’s A River Pierce.  A founding member of the 1990’s performance art collective Hard Women, Suze has performed across Texas at cultural venues, museums, galleries, bus stops and laundromats. She recently appeared at The VORTEX as Letter Writer to Death Linda Mary Montano’s Interactionarama: Viewer Discretion Advised. Professionally, Suze leads the UX research and strategy team at Guidea, where her current project is focused on increasing adoption of shelter and rescue pets. She shares her life with Jack and Frankie, and together they have loved five Belgian sheepdogs, a wolfhound, and a magpie.

Funded and supported in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, VORTEX Repertory Company, and by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.