An incredible exploration of modern feminisms
By Myron My
Before Trilogy begins, Nic Green appears on stage to inform us that due to unforeseen circumstances, her co-performer Laura Bradshaw would not be participating this evening. Rather than cancel it, Green has fortunately decided to make some changes to allow the show to work. I say fortunately because Trilogy ends up being a brilliant feminist performance art piece on women reclaiming their bodies and their rights, and it would have been an absolutely shame to miss out on this experience.
The first part of Trilogy examines how women’s bodies are presented in the public eye and how women view their own bodies. Green begins with a humorous cheer-leading routine that eventually turns into a group of about thirty Melbourne women performing a dance with a freer choreography. However, these volunteers are naked and cover all shapes, sizes, ages and race. They dance joyfully and connect with each other, allowing all their body parts to move along to the music uninhibited. These women are proud and will not conform to the expectations that they must be quiet and passive. It is a physical celebration of women and their bodies, of being a woman and of what it means to be a woman.
Part two focuses on the historical context of feminism with use of the documentary Town Bloody Hall, a debate on women’s liberation that took place in 1971 and was moderated by Neil Mailer. The panel of feminists included Germaine Greer and Jill Johnston and excerpts of their speeches are projected onto the screen. Joining Green on stage are Murray Wason, Bron Batten and Candy Bowers, and together they share their own experiences of gender roles and expectations and how these moments shape how society forms. What is revealed is the stark realisation of how much further we’ve got to go for equality and representation, despite how far we have seemingly come.
The third section, which appears to be most affected by Bradshaw’s absence, has Green giving a lecture on women creating their own “herstory”. Using the English hymn Jerusalem by William Blake, which was the official song of the suffragette movement, Green encourages women to reconnect, reclaim and re-frame their gender, which culminates in an empowering and liberating moment.
It is virtually impossible to walk out of Trilogy and not be determined to want to create change in society, regardless of what your sex or gender may be. But Green is specifically encouraging women to unite and explore their feminism, to make a stand, to fight for what they want, what they deserve, and as she declares at one point, “to start your own fucking movement”. Perhaps this is when the next revolution finally begins.
Venue: Arts House, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne, 3051
Season: Until 26 June | Thurs – Sat 8.30pm, Sun 2pm
Tickets: $45 Full | $35 Conc | $30 Student
Bookings: Arts House
Image by Bryony Jackson