'Trilogy': A Performance Inspired By Identity And Feminism
Scottish artist Nic Green talks about her three-part performance piece 'Trilogy' before its Melbourne premiere.
'Trilogy' creator Nic Green
Glasgow-based artist Nic Green demonstrates an eclectic mix of performance styles in her show Trilogy.
Trilogy is Nic’s way of responding to the way women and girls are taught to value and view themselves. The widely acclaimed performance will visit Melbourne at the end of this month following a call-out in April for 100 local women of all ages to take part.
The three-part performance celebrates women as they are in today’s world while acknowledging the joys and complexities of identifying as a woman.
LOTL spoke with Nic about Trilogy’s conception, structure, and why the performance doesn’t have a set message for the audience.
1. When creating Trilogy, how did you decide on the structure?
I started making this piece when I asked a friend to create a short provocation for a mini festival of new ideas. We made it while we were on holiday, in our shared bedroom in France.
I wanted to find a way of responding to some of the feelings and observations I was having with regards to the way women and girls are taught to value and view themselves. I wanted to create something that challenged me – in its creation and performance - to think and act differently with regards to myself and my own relationships with my identity as a woman.
We realised that there was energy in this, so we kept going and invited more people to be involved. Following this, I felt there was so much more to understand, so I kept going. In the end, we had three quite different works all made over several years. Although they are separate pieces, created at slightly different times, they all belong together somehow.
2. What inspired you to take three separate documents and weave them together to create one performance?
I wouldn’t say they are necessarily woven, but more in relationship with each other.
The three are not in any kind of narrative chronology, but are more orbiting and connecting each other and have some consistency in aesthetic or form. For instance, all three parts have a dance in them performed without clothes. I think seeing them over an evening has a cumulative effect and they do articulate with each other, but in many ways making the more subtle connections is in the hands and agency of the audience.
It was never the initial intention to make a trilogy, but I just became interested in looking at how you might make theatre inspired by identity and feminism, which at the time was quite an unfashionable idea. It was and continues to be really challenging. Coming back to the piece now has presented a new set of challenges and I am thinking a lot about how some of the more mainstream feminisms have failed in creating an inclusive and intersectional space for learning and solidarity.
3. What made you decide to incorporate local female volunteers instead of using a set ‘cast’?
We just wanted to meet diversities of women who would share stories, experiences and who would stand up and dance together in the special space that the project creates. We do also have a set cast in other parts of the work, but in this one moment we just wanted people to be there because they had made a choice to be there for themselves as women. We try to do everything we can to support this choice and enable a variety of people to participate and get involved.
4. Have you had performances where the number of volunteers varied? What causes this?
Yes, the most we have had has been 120, the smallest number has been 12. Each time, the dance is beautiful and takes on different qualities. We alter the shape and aspects of the dance to suit whoever is in it.
I think many things affect the numbers. There are very practical things like how successful a venue is at making the invitation on behalf of us, and what reach and appeal this invitation has. There have also been other aspects that are to do with demographic. For instance, in Northern Ireland, where communities identify strongly with religion, there were a different set of circumstances surrounding this invitation. We recognise that the invitation might not align with many women's religious identity and belief systems, and we don’t assume the invitation is universal in this respect. We are making an invitation based on our own experiences as women growing up in a particular culture.
We also recognise that there might be other barriers which might prevent women from participating which might be economic or circumstantial. We have tried to address these in various ways over the years, some more successfully than others.
Finally, we try to make it clear that this dance respects and includes diversities of bodies, identities and experiences and that the space is once of acceptance and difference.
5. One aspect you mention of Part One is to “demonstrate a unity in diversity.” What other important aspects and messages would you like for the audience to take away?
I don’t really wish to give a set of messages to the audience, but instead offer a space to make connections, considerations and relationships. I hope people are offered the space and time to connect to their own experiences.
6. When seeing Trilogy, what can the audience expect?
Energy, change, movement, hope, commitment.
7.What future plans do you have for Trilogy?
At the moment, none! This is the first time we have presented this work in six years. We will see what happens!
Trilogy performances will happen from 21 June 2016 to 26 June 2016 at Arts House in North Melbourne.
When: 21 June 2016 - 26 June 2016
Where: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne