WAGE

When I was growing up, Wage was what a man earned for his daily toil.

We heard regularly of the ‘wages of sin’. We were told to beware the punishment of hell. It was all fire and brimstone back then. I wore a knee length skirt, fashionable for the time, it seemed to creep above my knees when in a sitting position and to this day I can hear the rebuke: “Cover your knees, you shameless hussy!”

I wonder what the nuns who said that to me all those years ago, would think of the show I saw on stage last night, or of me for attending it and having some input? Surely they would have us condemned to eternal damnation.

But when you think about it, eternal damnation cannot be long…. Cremation of a body lasts approximately 90 minutes until the process is complete and all that remains are small amounts of bone and ash. So I can live with that! 😉

Anyways, as we say in Dublinese, back to last night. My visit to Dublin Fringe Festival to see WAGE at the Project Arts Centre, Cube.

Fitzgerald & Stapleton are a contemporary dance company founded by Emma Fitzgerald and Áine Stapleton, who aim to redefine representation of the dancing body through frequent performance. They choreograph collaboratively using language as a tool to animate and direct the dancer’s performance of their choreography.

“The scores we write include directions and instructions written in language ranging from pragmatic to poetic. Our politic is to accept with respect whatever form the body responds with as it negotiates these scores. The fundamental challenge in each performance is to remain attentive to the body as a living/dying organism that constantly orientates itself to its environment – in this way it is similar to vipassana meditation practice where the attention rests on the breath – but we are attempting to pay attention to the whole body each instant.”

Áine & Emma were on stage throughout the performance, dressed as they were on arrival into this world – naked. I am not so sure from the mutterings of the man (my vintage) sitting beside me, if he was very comfortable with two naked ladies dancing at arms reach in front of him (we were in the front row). He sat it out, but he and his female companion were out the door like a shot when the performance ended.

As we were forewarned, the piece was challenging and complex. Through video, text and movement it examined the roles imposed on women’s bodies by society and in particular, at the prostitution industry. It moved from anger to hilarity, yet was at times poignant.

For the finale, the girls returned to the stage clothed this time and were joined for a brief discussion, by Justine Reilly, a co-founder of SPACE – Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment, to give a real-life context to Wage’s ideals.

Justine is very aware of the damage of prostitution and rape, she had been introduced to the ‘game’ by her partner and pimp. Eventually after twenty years, she found the exit door and became involved in activism for the good of other victims.

We had a few words with Justine after the show, but did not hang about, I had a fall yesterday and my ankle was sore*. (Do you think I can blame the nuns??)

We sure had plenty to think about and discuss on the journey home.

* I made it to the Project Arts Centre with the aid of a crutch provided by Elly, and her strong arm on the other side. Today will be a day of rest.

Wrong fit

Fitzgerald & Stapleton Dance Theatre are performing Wage at this years Dublin Fringe Festival.

Emma and Áine are performing in the festival with WAGE, a show they made and performed in New York last year. This time round they wanted to rework the piece to include MINE with the existing choreographic score for the Dublin festival.

They wrote to me last week to ask for my permission to perform it. Why?

We would need a tardis to take us back in time… back to a blog post I wrote in my old blog in 2010. (The site is down at the moment, thought it was live last weekend, while my toyboys work on updating and moving all the old posts to the my new home).

MINE is an interactive online choreographic process involving Fitzgerald & Stapleton and four Irish women who live in different locations around Ireland and are aged between 8 and 63 years – Poppy Kane, Jenny Doyle, Kay O’Grady, and Grannymar.

Their plan was to work with each participant to create four individual choreographic scores over an 8 week period.

The work was completed and the problem of funding, loomed large. Things went quiet. The last time I heard from the girls, they were in New York (a previous visit), and there was still no sign of funding. Perhaps MINE was a ‘wrong fit’ for that time.
That did not mean it was a lost cause altogether, it was a hurdle to be jumped at another time. That time is now.

I will leave you in the good hands of the other LBC active members to check how they handle the topic Wrong fit chosen for us this week by Will Knott, while I head for the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar, Dublin, to see Wage.