E / D
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current project


Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 psychological film, Persona, Animus uses performance and multimedia projection to explore the merging identities of two modern women, one who speaks, and one who doesn’t, who compare hands and “get all mixed up in one another.”

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in depth look

Past and Present

Visual, provocative, harsh, and inventive, Animus examines identity, shame, voyeurism, and the toxic relationship dynamics created by social media. The characters are complex, three-dimensional, even ugly, and the work uplifts women and female identified artists by highlighting aspects of women that are so often not depicted onstage.

Marked by the creators' characteristic attention to aesthetics and dynamic visuals, Animus features three performers; two actors/movers, and one cinematographer, who captures live video footage during the piece that highlights and directs the audience’s focus to specific moments or intimate gestures that can’t normally be amplified on stage. Animus is complex, abstract, intriguing, dark, and stunning, and it is proudly made by women artists.

This first iteration of Animus premiered at the Twin Cities Horror Fest in October of 2017, with a full production at The Southern Theater in 2018. Performance images by Dan Norman.


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Meet the Artists

Animus is created by artists Emily Michaels King, Debra Berger, and Amber Johnson. Emily and Debra are entering their sixth year of artistic partnership, in which they create contemporary performances and events. Combining theater, movement and design, Emily and Debra’s work is marked by unconventional storytelling, dynamic visuals and feminist themes. Their pieces are abstract, nostalgic, powerful, and sensory, and are unified by their focus on aesthetics to deliver a considered and specific experience.

Individually. Debra’s work as a vocalist, performer, and creator has been featured by Theater Latte Da, the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, and Park Square Theater, among many others. Emily has created work for the Walker Art Center, Guthrie Dowling Studio, Trademark Theater, and more, and has been featured as a performer in works by Karen Sherman, The Moving Company, and Transatlantic Love Affair, among many others.

Emily and Debra have a long relationship with filmmaker Amber Johnson, who completes the Animus trio. Amber Johnson is best known for her award winning short film work that challenges genres and viewers’ expectations. A graduate of Film Studies and recognized as an Outstanding Young Alumni at Minnesota State University Moorhead, her film work has screened at festivals all over the world, earning numerous awards including Best Picture, Best Comedy, and for Excellence in Filmmaking. Amber is also a seasoned cinematographer with over 100 films and videos on her resume. Animus is proudly produced by E/D.

Which leads to the natural question:

Who the hell is E/D?

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emily and debra

E/D Makes Art

E/D is the collaboration of Emily Michaels King and Debra Berger that creates provocative and visually stunning performance centered on the female experience. E/D is by women for everyone.


on Emily

Emily Michaels King is a performing artist and aesthetic curator exploring human anatomy, personal history, and tactile engagement in live experiences. Her work incorporates movement, sound, text, and sculpture and has been seen at the Walker Art Center, Guthrie Dowling Studio, and Southern Theater, among others.

+ www.emilymichaelsking.com

On Debra

Debra Berger is a Minnesota-based performing artist, project manager and event designer. She earned her master's degree in directing from the University of North Dakota. Her work ranges from contemporary theater to classic country music and is informed by personal nostalgia, history and audience interaction.

+ www.debra-berger.com

on human women

As human women we age and wrinkle. We bend. And swell. And furrow between the eyes. We can be ugly and beautiful. We can be mean and kind. Comforting. Soft. Powerful. Loud. We are those women, and those are the women we know. There are also things we are not. We are not crazy. We are not stupid. We are not silent. And we are not taking any shit.


On Female Nostalgia

We are our 6-year-old selves learning to share. We are our 13-year-old selves discovering what we should fear, our 24-year-old selves making mistakes that we bet you regret too. We are our 30-year-old selves feeling misunderstood, and our future selves defining and redefining our woman. Multi-dimensional. Ever-changing. Cocooning and emerging infinitely.



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Support us



We make this work for ourselves. We make this work for each other. We make this work for the world. And most importantly, we make this work for you. Help us continue to create exciting, inventive performances by becoming a part of the E/D circle today. E/D is fiscally sponsored by Springboard for the Arts and all donations are tax deductible.

The most important thing is authenticity.
— Animus
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