Knowing that 7 Pleasures, at Melbourne Festival, was a performance of twelve nude dancers was enough to cause us nerves. My companion and I sat in our chairs awaiting the show in the depths of expectation; and nor was it lacking from the crowd around us. None of us knew what to expect. And in the end, none of us got what we expected.
7 Pleasures is a performance art piece that is evocative, tantalising and inherently unique. Once seen, it can’t be unseen. What you can assume is that you will be amazed: you will be amazed that such a concept can be conjured up; you will be amazed that a culture can inspire such a piece. And in that sense, it is both intriguing and terrifying, as art should be. It starts off as a sensual moving pile of bodies and ends much differently than how it started.
This performance subverts the idea that the form of naked body is both sexual as well as a piece of art unto itself. What is interesting about 7 Pleasures is that, although the overarching metaphors are sexual, the way that we perceive these bodies is not necessarily sexy. It’s closer to strange. It’s indicative of more what we don’t know about sex than what we do; and in that, it’s provocative.
Afterwards my companion and I wore our clothes with a difference on the ride home.
This piece is a must-see. It says a lot about nudity, and more importantly, about what it is to be naked, that what it isn’t – in all its absurdity and darkness. And it takes you to dark places, don’t get me wrong. But in the end, 7 Pleasures is about being naked, and the vulnerability of us unmasked for all to see.
Julian Bouchier is a poet, lover of the theatre, and is always up for a debate.
Read our guide to the best of the Melbourne Festival.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of TS Publicity.
Image credit: Melbourne Festival.