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Young Creatives Blog

Plug into Power Up your Tea Cups and Fighting Spirit

Tuesday 8 March 2016

  • Review

There seems to be a theme of empowerment running through several of the shows of the Festival, disrupting traditional narratives around gender, race and ‘ableness’. (This makes me quite happy).

No Guts, No Heart, No Glory is a site specific performance which aims to do exactly that – give Muslim women a chance to have agency over their representation, rather than leave the inaccurate stereotypes which are often perpetuated by the media unchallenged. Through the act of boxing, it subverts the timid, submissive stereotype of Muslim women, and presents an image of power. The characters also let us into their lives with stories which help the audience relate, and understand the struggles people go through trying to live a life which often seems contradictory. I also had the pleasure of assisting the company Common Wealth during a workshop with a group of students from Balga Senior High School. The workshop focused on encouraging the students to voice the injustices they faced: to speak out against misrepresentations, and have the courage to do so. I loved hearing what the students had to say – they caused me to have moments of ‘the world’s pretty messed up’, but also ‘I want to change things!’ It was pretty special.

Claire Cunningham, Give Me a Reason to Live and Guide Gods, uses movement to explore how people interpret disability and to challenge the rhetoric which labels people ‘disabled’. Cunningham’s movement reminded me of a particular post humanism line of thought concerning ‘disability’ – that when creating aids such as prosthetic limbs, why can we not go beyond just replicating the human form, and create something that is better? This is demonstrated in innovations such as prosthetic hands with fingers that split in two, allowing greater precision in movement. In Cunningham’s movement, she uses her crutches at times as an extension of herself. She has created a way of moving which is usually out of reach of humans, questioning why difference has to be regarded negatively.

Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid also subverts – this time narratives about gender. The excellence of having a performer like Meow Meow doing a version of The Little Mermaid, for me really comes down to one thing – that where in the original tale the mermaid sacrifices her voice for a man, instead Meow Meow’s mermaid has an amazingly powerful voice and refuses to shut up. When I went to see this show, I did expect it to have a stronger link to the original narrative. Instead it utilises the shenanigans of cabaret, with cheeky references to Hans Christian Andersen’s tale – in the end her prince inviting her to go to karaoke on a date. I want all my cabaret to come with social commentary.

Young Creative: Theatre

Written By Rhiannon Peterson