REVIEW: Woman SRSLY – “it is worth celebrating loudly the 1st birthday of this unique platform for female artists”

Woman SRSLY Image by Alex Gent

A year ago, the platform Woman SRSLY started in London as a space to give voice and presence to those female-identified artists that struggle in their path of sharing their work.

As in many other spaces and structures in society, female artists have not had equal access to grants, platforms and opportunities in general.

The Woman SRSLY event, had a strong sense of community, freedom of being oneself and non-judgment between everybody involved.

Throughout the night, we experienced a wide range of interdisciplinary performance involving music, film, puppetry and circus.

Woman SRSLY Image by Alex Gent
Woman SRSLY Image by Alex Gent

The event started with Swedish singer Klara Andersson. At some point, I thought, ‘I wish I knew what she was singing’, but actually I realised it was not necessary. A howling chant; expressive and right from the gut.

In Mother Smith, Victoria Rucinska and Natalie Sloth Richter, manipulated a puppet of an old black woman, representing the true story of a Guyanese poet named Mary. Using her real voice recordings as the sound to inform the movements of the puppet, we recognise the universal story and words of a woman that has experienced difficulties in her life, such as domestic violence or poverty.

Listen to our podcast with Woman SRSLY’s Valerie Ebuwa

NOT IT (a work I stole from Beckett) by Emily Warner is a very brave piece. We saw her in the dark, half nude and moving slowly as she approached the space. A big circle of light resembling a moon is reflected in the back wall. She eventually covers herself with a black cloth and climbing up a stairs, she positions herself so that the light is now directly in her mouth. This is all what we can see: her mouth, speaking out. With this powerful image the piece continues all the way through, as she reads a text. “What does she want?” is a phrase that somehow stayed in my memory.

Woman SRSLY Image by Alex Gent
Woman SRSLY Image by Alex Gent

Our Cult is a strong performance by Symoné, mixing dance hull and circus, her body is exposed to difficult physical challenges. She keeps going; defiant of the situation. Videos are projected in the back wall, where we can see in many different ways white women representing beauty in contrast of Symoné’s strong black body.

By the end of the event, we encounter an improvisation by Aletheia Antonia. Aiming to get out something from deep inside, the work evolved beautifully through singing and moving in the space. Her strong body had delicate qualities that pulled us into her inner world.

Throughout the event, The Yonis – Woman SRSLY’s resident movement girlband – performed all over the place, spreading their fun with commitment and purpose, in unconventional spaces before, between and after the show.

It was refreshing indeed to see and experience different work. Work that does not fall into the standard parameters of what performance should be. Without a doubt, it is worth celebrating loudly the first birthday of this unique platform, that I am sure will have many more years to celebrate.

Reviewed at The Yard Theatre in Hackney on 30 August 2018.