The spectacle of 50 naked women dancing onstage initially sparked both my curiosity and trepidation when I heard of Nic Green’s work Trilogy presented at Arts House. When the work opened with an endearing direct address by performers Nic Green and Laura Bradshaw, I instantly warmed to the pair of Glaswegian women as they introduced the work and set a playful and relaxed tone for the evening.
Early on in Act One the artists delivered on their hero image and selling point for the show. The stage was filled with 50 local female volunteers, wearing nothing but joy and bravery as they danced freely in a spectacular six-minute choreography. Their dance moves were open and strong and encouraged breasts to bounce and wobbly bits to wiggle. I sat in awe of all the beautiful bodies dancing before me, trying to spot the friends I knew on stage and experiencing a growing delight as I saw women of all ages, shapes, and sizes moving with abandon.
But this was only Act One. This three part evening of feminist performance art had a lot more in store. The evening moved on into a deconstruction of a feminist panel discussion held in 1971 at the New York Town Hall, featuring speakers such as Germaine Greer, Jill Johnson and chaired by Norman Mailer. Interspersed with moments of dance the audience were shown fascinating snippets of this intriguing archival footage. Notably we saw a young and enigmatic Germaine Greer give an impassioned critique on the male artist. Her moving speech contained lines such as ‘the art on which we nourish ourselves is sapping our vitality and breaking our hearts’ which resonated strongly for me in light of our own recent funding cuts to the arts.
Throughout the piece we get the sense of the passing of time, not only in the history of the feminist movement but also in the lives of the performers themselves. An evening of depth, playfulness and spectacle, ‘Trilogy’ is a transformative, informative, and a very enjoyable evening. Catch this work while it is still in Melbourne.
Janie Gibson may or may not have joined the artists and other audience members nude on stage in Act Three to sing a feminist anthem.