For the benefit of those who might not know, here’s a quick introduction to Ted Bundy: American. Handsome. Seemingly a nice guy. Serial killer. Rapist. Necrophile. Eventually caught after murdering 30-odd women in the 1970s. Sentenced to death by electric chair in the 80s. His life and crimes are infamous anyway, but his legacy (for lack of a better phrase) lives on through a series of taped confessions he made to the police, in the hope they would help him live. They didn’t.
It is these tapes that Greg Wohead used to create his one-hour performance, The Ted Bundy Project. Here’s a quick introduction to Wohead: American. Handsome. Seemingly a nice guy. I’m pretty sure there’s no need to add to that, but herein lies one of the two central themes of this intriguing performance: what we see on the surface is not always the truth. Just like Bundy repeated the same formula of charming his victims into letting their guard down, Wohead uses charm and repetition to first disarm and finally unsettle the audience. He is personable, funny, polite, humble, and we hate him for it by the end. It’s a wonderful performance from the artist.
While Bundy may be the catalyst for this performance piece, the show isn’t really about him. The Ted Bundy Project is about society’s morbid fascination with the macabre. While we may show disgust or hatred towards gore and heinous acts, a part of us is drawn to it. In explaining Bundy’s murder of Georgann Hawkins, Wohead points out what we do and don’t know. We can only go on assumption and let our imaginations run wild. Wohead makes use of audio and video to strengthen his argument, resulting in an experience that is intense, visceral and discomforting.
This isn’t a piece for the faint-hearted – the content is graphic and unapologetic, but extremely intelligent. Wohead has created a piece of theatre that challenges our perception of ourselves; that maybe, like Ted Bundy, we’re all a little bit evil – we’re just better at keeping it locked inside.