Courtesy photoActress and student Isabella Rossellini’s latest project is a one-woman show about the sex lives of animals

Courtesy photoActress and student Isabella Rossellini’s latest project is a one-woman show about the sex lives of animals

From ‘Blue Velvet’ to ‘Green Porno’

There are far more colors on the palette of Isabella Rossellini than might be suggested by 1985’s “White Nights” or her recent guest appearance on “The Blacklist.”

She famously wore “Blue Velvet” for David Lynch. More recently, she has been making “Green Porno,” a documentary series for the Sundance Channel she has adapted into a one-woman show she is presenting this week in The City.

Fascinated with animals from childhood, Rossellini is pursuing a master’s degree on animal behavior and conservation. It’s been “a great source of information” for her profiles of snails, spiders, hamsters and other critters — the “green” part.

The “porno” part? Rossellini’s corner of the animal planet has to do with sex and reproduction, and no holds — including the amorous death-grip of a praying mantis — are barred. She explains, “I don’t say, ‘Oh, this creature is way too scandalous.’ Biology is biology.”

In the films, the former Lancome model, wearing elaborate costumes, narrates and portrays her multi-legged subjects and their physical urges in comically graphic detail.

She doesn’t feel it was much of an acting stretch, but it tested her in other ways.

“I had to become a writer and I had to become a director,” she says.

To bring the work to the stage, she also had to become a playwright, or at least a collaborator. Enter close friend Carole Bouquet of the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only,” who insisted that “Green Porno” was meant to go live, and facilitated an introduction to Oscar winner Jean-Claude Carrière to help make it happen.

“He’s the great surrealist writer who wrote all the [Luis] Buñuel scripts and was now working with Peter Brook,” Rossellini says with a bit of “pinch me” in her voice. “He’s really very known in Europe and very revered, so I said, ‘Let’s try that. A great adventure!’ How could you resist that, you know?”

Rossellini also relied on evolutionary biologist Alan Grafen and other scientists she has met during her studies to keep the presentation accurate.

In the stage version, Rossellini appears as a lecturer at a scientific conference. “I might say things like, ‘There are some animals that are hermaphrodites, having both sexes.’ I mention a few examples, but it is not really a conference on science, so it gets crazier and crazier.”

Though she does not see herself as a teacher, Rossellini’s goal is to present real information in an entertaining way.

“I want people to first laugh and then leave and say, ‘Oh, we laughed and laughed, but we were saying very serious things.’ That’s my goal.”

IF YOU GO

Green Porno

Where: Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., S.F.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $50 to $60. $100 includes post-performance reception.

Contact: (415) 292-1233, www.jccsf.org/artsartsGreen PornoIsabella RosselliniSundance Channel

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Passengers ride the 14-Mission Muni bus on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit officials fear Free Muni pilot could hurt already-strained service levels

Supporters say fare cuts could increase ridership, help low-income residents

The vacant property at 730 Stanyan St. in the Haight currently houses a safe sleeping site for the homeless. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Affordable housing project on former McDonald’s site delayed as city adds units

The start of construction on an affordable housing project on the site… Continue reading

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

Historic streetcars are undergoing testing on The Embarcadero to prepare for their return to service on May 15.<ins></ins>
What to expect for Muni Metro’s relaunch on May 15

Significant service restoration includes downtown subway tunnels and historic streetcars

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) and running back Raheem Mostert (31) celebrate after Mostert scores his fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the 49ers take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
49ers on prime-time TV five times in 2021

Usually a team that finishes in last place and won only six… Continue reading

Most Read