While she’s wanted to explore animal behavior since she was a young girl, there weren’t many opportunities to do so. And she soon found herself busy modeling for Lancôme and starring in films like “Blue Velvet” and “Death Becomes Her.”
“I always asked myself if animals could feel and think, but was always told they behave on instinct,” she said. “It stayed a hobby of mine. I took trips to national parks and went to lectures about it.”
It was during one of those lectures where Rossellini finally got the chance to study what goes on inside the heads of the critters we share this earth with. In 2007, she started earning her master's degree in animal behavior at Hunter College in New York.
“A few years ago I was attending a lecture there, and I learned they had just opened up a new branch of psychology on animal behavior,” she recalled. “I signed up that same evening.”
Around that same time, Sundance Channel commissioned her to write and star in a web series about animals titled “Green Porno,” which at its core is about animal reproduction, seduction, courtship, and maternal instinct. While more than 4 million people tuned into the series, Rossellini wanted to take her newfound studies to the streets.
Thus, “Link Link Circus” was born.
“We had millions of people seeing [Green Porno], but it’s hard to monetize on the internet,” she said. “So I went back to the origin of theatre.”
While “Green Porno” was more of a “waist down” exploration of animals, Rossellini says “Link Link Circus” focuses on the “waist up,” questioning to what degree animals can feel and think. She – along with the company of Pan, a rescue dog, and animal handler Schuyler Beeman – has taken the show to 20 cities using puppets, animated videos and a sense of humor to turn what Rossellini calls a “boring scientific paper” into something entertaining.
“I see myself as an environmental artist,” she said. “Everything I do is comical, but with the correct scientific information.”
“Link Link Circus” will be held for one performance only at the David & Dorothea Theatre in La Jolla, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $65. Visit my.lfjcc.org/6190/6191 for more information and to purchase.