I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
A girl walks alone at night
Tender Young Creatures presented by The House That Dan Built, is a performance art installation with a lot to say and a powerful message to the world that young women are more than delicate, pretty things to ornament society. It's also an impactful commentary on the ways young women are treated differently to young men – how we are told it's not safe to go out alone at night, and how we walk with our keys in our hands in case of danger.
Running for just an hour, this incredible piece of theatre makes a solid impact in a short space of time. Weaving the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood in with this modern social and gender commentary and layering over a completely sung-through score makes this a work that tantalises the senses and leaves the audience wondering whether it is actually us, the observers, who are lost in the woods.
On entering the space, we are removed of all our belongings. My bag was taken away and I was encouraged to enter a dark space with white hooded creatures scattered about holding candles. It felt almost ritualistic and a little unnerving. When the girls began to sing and the show kicked off, I found it best to experience the performance whilst walking around as each actor was doing something slightly different – as one of the performers said to me after the show, each of these actors has a different show; no single performance is the same.
As the show progressed, the women found their strength, refusing to be ornaments or victims. Through vocals that emulated war cries and pounding percussion, the prettiness of the beginning of the performance gave way to a brave new world where women are not to be messed with. These girls were strong, tough and worldly. They were fierce and vocal. They were not waiting for a prince or cowering in fear. As a woman watching, I felt empowered and proud. These were the women of the future.
Vocally, the performers were strong and the harmonies were haunting. These young women are talented and fierce and they are relentless in their ability to make the wandering audience ever so slightly uncomfortable. This superb cast of women is made up of Iris Simpson, Amalia-Rose Tregonning, Kittu Hoyne, Claudia Meaney, Jayden Selvakumaraswamy, Emily Pincock, Maddison Calcott, Elektra Blinder, Grace Campbell, Sylvie Woodhouse, Tahlia Merlino, Maddie Simpson and Brie Harris.
This is the second development of Tender Young Creatures, designed to present a challenging work that is festival ready. This is a piece that would certainly feel at home in a festival program and as the program notes, the piece could be performed with a larger cast to involve local artists as well as the core group. Co-creators Danielle OKeefe and Natalie Richards have brought together an incredibly visceral performance and given young women an opportunity to have their voices and stories heard. This alone makes this a show that should be seen by a wider audience.