Trilogy reflection

Trilogy finished over a week ago now and it has taken me that long to write about it coherently enough to post here. I had a busy week catching up on real life, but I was also busy trying to unpack all my thoughts on Trilogy that have been stacked on top of each other inside my brain for the last week or so.

I volunteered for Trilogy for lots of reasons – I like being onstage, I wanted to challenge myself to be onstage naked and I wanted to be involved in this life-affirming feminist performance. It became about more than the performance though because so much of the experience happened off-stage. Our dance lasted less than 10 minutes each night but we had four three-hour rehearsals to prepare for it. These sessions were more than just dance rehearsals; they gave us an opportunity to get to know each other and to figure out what had drawn us to this project in the first place. It was a chance met other brave women and maybe find another way of looking at the world.

And it did change people. All week, when we sat down to talk about how we were feeling on that particular day, women talked about the revelations they had had since starting the process and the way it was changing how they saw the world. I didn’t feel changed. My biggest revelation was that I was surprised how easy it was to dance naked once you got over the initial shock.

Then on the Friday night, I saw the show and something shifted for me. I was really hyper after the performance, I wanted to talk to everyone about everything, I was excited and giddy.

Troligy is a very feminist play. Part One begins with some quotes from The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer and ends with that naked, celebratory dance by women who aren’t embarrassed or ashamed by their bodies or the ways they jiggle! Part Two is a reaction to Town Bloody Hall – a debate in 1971 between leading feminists and famous misogynist Norman Mailer. They play lots of clips from the recording of the debate and I loved the passion that was displayed by those women from long ago. What was going on onstage in the present was also wonderful. There was lots of beautiful movement sections, and some really moving monologues. The third part is an introduction to Make Your Own Herstory, a web-based project that is taking feminism into the future.

This wonderful feminist play made me feel that all my thoughts on feminism aren’t out-dated and out-of-step with the world around me, that there are other people who feel the same way, that are looking for a community and a way to move things forward. And that made me happy. At one point, my over-whelming thought was ‘I love theatre!’. It just bubbled up in me and made me grin. I felt happy to be there experiencing this wonderful work that these people had spent so much time and care into creating. I felt lucky to be there to see the work, and lucky to have experience working with the people onstage and be involved, in a very small way, in creating it.

The next day I felt like Trilogy had started me on some sort of journey. I’m not sure where it’s going to lead but I feel like it’s going to be more of a creative journey than a purely feminist one and I’m really interested to see where I end up.

My Trilogy experience wasn’t “life-changing” in some big, dramatic way, but I think that week did change me. Since then, throughout the last week, I have had moments when I feel like I can do anything I want with my life, that there’s nothing stopping me having the life I want. Nic talked about the play having an effect on those we saw it, and that it would go on to cause ripples in the wider community. I hope that’s true but I think for the women who took part, it will have a slightly bigger effect. I feel like Nic has lit a power-keg under each of us; we don’t know yet how long the fuse is or how much gun-powder is loaded but eventually there are going to be lots of explosions from all these wonderful women.

If you would like to experience it all yourself, and if you happen to be in Belfast, you can! Trilogy is on at the Waterfront as part of the Belfast Festival and they are looking for volunteers. More details here.

Trilogy Rehearsals

We had our last Trilogy rehearsal last night. It was in the Project Arts Centre where we will be performing. It was a full dress and tech rehearsal. We called it our Undress Rehearsal and it went really well. The show opens tonight and the first night is completely sold out. I will be naked in front of a lot of people tonight. I’m nervous but not totally freaking out.

My body is sore from all the dancing which is fast and energetic. I tried to run for a bus last night and got about two yards before my legs started to cramp up. Being naked with the rest of women is no longer a big deal. Nic and the rest of the women organising it, were very gentle when it came to slowly getting us out of our clothes. It was done in stages with people setting their own pace. The heat in the room and all the dancing helped. It made sense to take off a couple of layers of clothes when you are so hot and sweaty! They made nakedness normal and fun! Everybody should do the hokey-cokey naked at least once in their lives.

I’m really enjoying the whole experience. In a way, I’m looking forward to getting onstage tonight because I want to get the first night over with. Once I know what it actually feels like to be naked in front of an audience like that, it will be easier to relax and enjoy it.

If you’re thinking about coming to see the show, get your tickets fast! As I said, tonight is completely and the other three nights are selling fast.

Trilogy

Last night I went to my first Trilogy rehearsal. There were 30-40 women sitting around a room, feeling nervous and a little apprehensive. None of us really knew what to expect, what we would be doing over the next 3 hours or if we’d actually be able to go through with the final (naked) performance.

The organisers, Nic Green and her cast, were very gentle with us. We started out sitting in a circle, introducing ourselves, explaining why we were there and what had drawn us to the project. There were lots of different reasons. Women had come along to confront their own body-demons or to celebrate their bodies because they felt they finally felt good in their own skin. A lot of people said it was because dancing naked on stage was a good way to challenge themselves, others because they liked to be naked in a non-sexual environment and this felt like a rare and wonderful opportunity to do that. There were women who wanted to just do something crazy or who wanted to work with other women. A lot of people said how nervous they were, that they weren’t really sure why they were there.

I think I covered some of my own reasons in an earlier post; because I felt it was an interesting thing to get involved in, because the show sounded like something I would be really interested in. That’s why I sent off the e-mail to Kate saying “yeah, I’ll do that.” I think I was actually there last night, just to prove to myself a little bit that I can do this.

I am really nervous about being naked on stage, not because I have a problem with how I look naked but because I feel it will make me vunerable. The Project is a reasonably big venue and Dublin is a pretty small town. It’s very likely that I will meet people afterwards who will have seen the show, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

So, yes I’m nervous, but I’m not backing out. And there are lots of reasons that I am determined to do this; 1) I’d feel like such a coward if I gave up and I got a couple of friends from roller derby to sign-up to do it too which is an added motivation to stick with it; 2) I know that I will feel really proud of myself for doing it and 3) the rehearsal yesterday was the most incredible fun! The dance is fun and lively, the song we’re dancing to is fantastic and it looked brilliant. Everyone in the room was having a great time.

After we introduced ourselves, we did a quick, silly warm-up and then started learning the dance. We all stayed fully clothed yesterday and just concentrated on learning the steps and getting to know each other. It was a really great three hours. I left the rehearsal yesterday really buzzing from all the dancing and all the great women I’d meet. I miss working in a group like that. I’m heading out to the second rehearsal now. I’m not sure if we’ll be expected to get naked today, but I’m looking forward to it anyway.

Early Bird Offer for Fringe Festival

The Fringe Festival’s Early Bird offer ends tomorrow, September 25. Use the promo code earlybird2010 to get 10% off orders above €75 or 5% off orders below €75.

If you are having trouble deciding what to go and see, my recommendations are;

– The fantastic Camille O’Sullivan, for the last two years she has been a highlight of my Fringe. You will love it!
– The Company’s As you are now so once were we. The title is a bit of tongue twister, but check out the trailer!
The Pajama Men at the Fringe Factory – I haven’t seen them but I have heard lots of good things about them. Not to be confused with Pajama Girls)
Trilogy – tickets are less than €20 and the show is three hours long! That has to be some of the best value on the Fringe!

Would you like to dance naked on stage as part of the Fringe Festival?

A couple of weeks the Fringe Festival put out a call for women who would be like to participate in a show called ‘Trilogy’. The show is about modern-day feminism and was created by a woman called Nic Green.

From the Fringe website:
“Women of all ages, backgrounds, shapes, sizes, levels of fitness and ability are sought to perform naked in an ensemble dance celebrating the female form, as part of Nic Green’s extraordinary, multi award winning show Trilogy during this year’s ABSOLUT Fringe.

A show in three parts, Trilogy is a celebratory venture into modern-day feminism and examines and interrogates the joys and complexities of being a woman today.”

I think it sounds like a really interesting experience and have already signed up! Even though it may interfere with volunteering for the festival, I think it would be worth it! In the Guardian, Lynn Gardner describes Trilogy (at the Edinburgh fringe festival last year) as angry, joyous, heartfelt, rigorous and radiant with hope. That’s my kind of show!

It looks like it would be a fairly big commitment – evening rehearsals are from September 18th to 21st and then performances will take place from September 22nd to 25th – but you can come along to the first information evening (where everybody keeps their clothes on!) and see how you feel about it. Nic Green says on the website above; “If you want to come to the first session (which we will do fully clothed!) and decide you don’t want to come back that is of course absolutely fine and we will fully understand. However, if you feel at all interested I would urge you to come along and see what you think and how you feel.”

Another Guardian article about the show in Edinburgh talks to the volunteers who took part and they are all very positive about the experience. And from my own experience, I can tell you that the Fringe knows how to look after its volunteers!

If you’re interested in taking part, or just finding out more, contact Kate at kate@fringefest.com and maybe I’ll see you there!