When was the last time you went to a performance event and most names in the program were women? And I’m talking seriously. Do not think only about the dancers or performers, (cause we know male choreographers love that), I am also talking here about creators, directors, producers, choreographers, sound artists, musicians, and so on.
WOMAN SRSLY is run by a panel of practising artists including Grace Nicol, Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Claudia Palazzo, Valerie Ebuwa, Becky Namgauds and Alice White, whose aim is to balance and point out the gender disparities within the arts. Last Thursday event, was hosted at The Place theatre, with help from the LCDS Feminist Society featuring diverse and interdisciplinary work from various artists.
The Yonis injected the whole evening with their characteristic inventiveness and powerful presence. A girl band of performers that occupy those in-between spaces, investigating where dance can exist and with what purposes. This time made up of nine performers each of them wearing a different color, The Yonis navigated throughout the night using voice, sound and their bodies as agents of action. I would’ve loved to see even more of them!
The night properly opened with Swedish sound artist and musician Klara Andersson. Experimenting with layers of sounds, mixing instruments and noise textures, Fagelle invited us to dive in and experience with her a journey of sound and sensation.
Next was The Lindy Show in where Lindy Nsingo dressed in a glitter unitard and heels, plays the host of a new TV show. With a confident presence, Nsingo portrays the many prejudices that exist against women of color and the alienation that can come with today’s necessity of constant attention in the media. The narrative of the piece ends up when she finds out the show is cancelled and stands alone in front of us (lost heel included). Here are my thoughts around it: I came to the theatre because I didn’t wanna stay home watching youtube videos. I wanted to imagine other possible realities. Not this time, maybe…
Future Sensation by Lucy McCormick recreated a parody of the historical sinful scene of the Garden of Eden. Decadent and obscure, it reminded me of Dina Goldstein’s Fallen Princesses. McCormick makes a desperate attempt to understand why Eve ends up biting that apple, or why is it that patriarchy has impregnated in our society like a putrid fungus.
Hannah Ballou asked the audience to be quiet in her very smart piece Shhh, cause she literally had her daughter on a baby buggy sleeping on stage throughout the whole time. “There are many versions of these piece” Ballou says to the audience wearing her pijama, “one in where she wakes up and cries, one in where she dances…” and she continues “one in where artists can afford childcare, although I don’t know what would that be”. While reading a feminist baby book, and making the audience sing a lullaby, Ballou touches a crucial yet often forgotten issue. Being a mother and an artist (or really any other profession!) has been historically undermined leading to not support or understanding. Ballou manages to deliver this message to the audience with intelligence and somehow avoiding confrontation until of course the piece finishes with a desperate ‘Fucking sleep!’ dance.
Last but not least, was Becky Namgauds with her piece Like Honey that featured a very strong performer being influenced or influencing the voice and sounds of a vocal singer on stage. They had indeed a very clear and strong connection, and each movement with it’s different dynamic and quality would go together with the voice creating a powerful synergy. I was only a bit confused about the mermaid costume. Don’t get me wrong here: I think women can wear and behave in whatever way suits them. My point is that, contrary with what the program notes said, this costume is exactly what I grew up –through mainstream media representations– imagining.
Although raining and standing on the street, I couldn’t say goodbye to my female friends after the show; we submerged intensely in a never ending conversation. We had so much to talk, discuss and share. It is proven that we need much more spaces and platforms in where to feel represented, identified, even if we do not agree with it all. We all need to hear what female-identified and socialised female artists are articulating in all mediums, cause it resonates with immense force in our bodies, in all bodies. Woman SRSLY has been both an initiator and detonator for these relevant and crucial conversations.
Reviewed on 14th of March at The Place