Maya Hawke Delivers Theatrical ‘Thérèse’ Performance on the ‘Tonight Show’
Stranger Things star Maya Hawke performed her single “Thérèse” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday — but the actorly performance she delivered would have been better served on a theatre stage.
Inspired by the Balthus painting “Thérèse dreaming,” the song from Hawke’s latest album Moss tells the tale of a young woman trapped inside of a painting and the inability for anyone to see her as anything beyond the still image she was captured as. On stage at Fallon, the singer leaned into her acting background and used intensely dramatic facial expressions to communicate the emotions of the haunting record.
Joined by a four-piece backing band, Hawke delivered melodramatic idiosyncrasies in tune with their instruments. While singing the song’s heaviest lyrics throughout the performance, the singer’s eyes glossed over and she seemed far away.
“She reminds me of memories/Sleeping off the growing pains/We were sea anemones/Spelling out each other’s names,” Hawke sang as though she was being transported back to the same moments she described. “Whispering inside our red house/While the adults were a-sleeping/I guess Thérèse was just for me/A quiet I keep on keeping.”
Hawke released Moss in September 2022 as her sophomore studio album. “Thérèse” preceded the record by a few months and arrived with a Brady Corbet-directed music video depicting the police breaking up an elaborate orgy in the forest.
“Brady saw the video very clearly in his head, but I can’t imagine he could have guessed how well his idea fit with what I wanted to reveal and express about the song,” Hawke told Dazed at the time. “I hope people like it or hate it, or whatever. I hope it makes them feel something other than shame, self-hatred, and loneliness. I think we are all tired of feeling like that.”
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