Feminism in ‘relevant again’ shocker
This article is from 2009.
Trilogy is a night-long, three-part exploration into the state of contemporary feminism. It’s joyous, life-affirming stuff; an adrenaline shot to a movement that seems to have lost its way in a world where increasingly brutal pornography is common currency and airbrushed, surgically-resculpted bodies are presented as the norm.
Part one is a call to arms. And, ah, legs. And buttocks. The idea is a simple one to anyone familiar with Gok Wan’s oeuvre, but devoid of self-help schmaltz: bodies are beautiful. A screen flashes up images of jellies wobbling as the performers, with huge grins, do an aerobic workout, naked. Then they’re joined onstage by four rows of marching naked women who take part in a punk dance routine, punching the air and revelling in the capabilities of their sinews.
Part two is about reconnection with the energies of the past. Five modern-day feminists (one man, four women), in their mid-20s, interact with Town Bloody Hall, a documentary about the famous 1971 panel discussion ‘on Women’s Liberation’, featuring Germaine Greer and ‘noted misogynist icon’ Norman Mailer. The film itself, playing onstage, is still startling in the passion and ferocity of the opinions it displays; watching performers born over a decade after it was made respond to its problems could renew the faith of even the most jaded politico.
There are difficult and unfashionable ideas here, but the performers’ conviction sells it all. They’re vibrating with enthusiasm and questions, unfailingly courteous to each other and the audience, not afraid to send themselves up for the sake of a laugh, equally unafraid of making serious political points. And it’s incredibly affecting. Even the few gentlemen in the audience who may have come in with less salubrious motivations seem moved into something else by the end of part three, when we all gather on stage to sing Jerusalem, the anthem of the early Suffragette movement. And some of us are naked.
St Stephen’s, 0141 565 1000, until 31 Aug (not 18, 25), 7.30pm, £12 (£9).