I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at www.samsaradunston.blogspot.com.au
Four brave women tell their truth
We are getting to see and hear the female voice on our stages at the moment which has enriched our arts and our community beyond measure. Talking about meta concepts such as equality, biology, and sociology these shows have much to show and teach us. InSeen and Heard, though, Becky Lou takes us on a different tangent exploring the micro experience and allowing women to tell their individual truths for once.
The evening begins, as promised in the publicity photo, with Becky Lou doing a fantastic, fun, and ferocious burlesque number which includes a talking vagina with rather nasty looking fangs. This is all fun and games (with a bite) and whilst the evening does not continue in quite the same manner the tales by her guest performers has as much, if not more, of a bite as all real truth does.
Over the course of the season, Becky Lou has invited some great female artists to talk about something which is truly real and meaningful for them. The tales which emerge are unexpected, extremely personal, and life-changing to hear.
Every night the line-up is a little different by on the night I went I got to hear from the luminescent Mama Alto, the fiery Jessica McKerlie, the beatific Jessamae St James, and the whirlwind Anna Lumb. Four amazing women exposing their soul, their beauty and their fragility. The first story came from Mama Alto. Gender transcendent, it seems everything Mama Alto touches radiates the sublime. Her natural speaking voice is so soft and soothing and yet it has the strength to reach deep into the soul as she speaks about the pain of growing up in a binary world where girls do girl things and boys do boy things and there is nothing else. As a person born to live a life so much bigger than a gender box, her courage and strength silently booms through the space, occasionally given voice as she hums or sings a few lines of a song here and there.
McKerlie was next. Coming on stage in a straight jacket and clown makeup she talked about facing that most horrible of possibility for teenage girls - what if I'm a lesbian? As McKerlie frees herself from her bonds she hits home talking about the YES vote and how painful it was for her to return from the Edinburgh Fringe to an Australia publicly debating whether she should be equal or lesser under the law.
Jessamae St James was up next. Whilst her story was powerful, it was through her music we heard her true heart. Sad yet celebrating, smooth yet jagged, her indie, jazz blues bypasses the frontal lobe to hit right in the amygdala.
The evening ended with the effervescent Anna Lumb. Circus artist and queen of the hula hoop, Lumb took us through the rollercoaster ride an ordinary day in the life of a mother is. Running, running, endlessly running - always between places but never quite at rest. Lumb finds herself with hoop upon hoop encircling her, the body twisting and writhing to keep them all in the air. Seen And Heard is honest and confronting. It is unexpected - more in its truthfulness than it's performance.