“Engaging with the voices is a radically liberating move”… There was undoubtedly a lot of theatre during the Women Centre Stage: Power Play Festival but for me, the New Women session in the middle of the day was the highlight – three cracking pieces which variously looked to the past, the present and the future to thrilling effect. We started with a group new to me – The Hiccup Project – two Brighton based performers blurring the lines between dance, comedy, and theatre to create a most beguiling form of performance art.
Somewhat confessional, somewhat quirky, altogether fun, Cristina Mackerron and Chess Dillon-Reams’ May-We-Go-Round was a delight and a canny piece of programming as it was unlike anything else in all 10 hours of the day, made me excited to see further work by them and if nothing else, reminded us all of the benefits of a good skip. Looking to the past, Winsome Pinnock’s Tituba embroiders a rich emotional life for the character who almost incidentally appears in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
Inspired by Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem by Professor Elaine Breslaw, Pinnock’s Tituba puts her at the centre of her own story, her own slave narrative, and through eloquent words and elegantly primal movement, Cecilia Noble makes her a hugely compelling protagonist, a woman rewriting a history that has been otherwise been erased – one of the recurring themes of how women can and should be claiming centre stage.
And then Wilderness, April de Angelis’ sharply observed two-hander directed by Susannah Tresillian, pitching Janet Suzman and Kathryn Pogson against each other as patient and shrink but blurring the boundaries to ask how sane any of us are really. Both actors clearly relished the shifting power dynamics and Suzman’s keenly pointed dialogue was a particular real thrill to behold. Bravo to all.