Presented by Dublin Fringe Festival
8 – 16 September, 2018
Samuel Beckett Theatre
Unwoman is a woman
Unwoman is not a woman
Unwoman performs woman
Unwoman cannot give birth
Unwoman has given birth many times
Unwoman has had many abortions
Unwoman is bleeding
Unwoman is grieving
Unwoman is angry
Unwoman is a crime
Unwoman is a real and substantial risk.
A post-menopausal woman carries her unborn child, subject to constant physical labour. But the flame of Brigid burns. Hidden miracles erupt from the earth and crawl back into the belly of the woman.
Brought to you by award-winning feminist theatre company THE RABBLE (Melbourne, Australia) and trailblazing Irish artist Maeve Stone (Dublin), this production is an exploded ordinance site of what it is to be Unwoman.
Creators THE RABBLE (Emma Valente & Kate Davis) & Maeve Stone
Performed by Olwen Fouéré
Made with commissioning support from Dublin Fringe Festival and developed at FRINGE LAB. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Producing support provided by Pan Pan Theatre (Ireland).
Hero Image Photo Patricio Cassinoni
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★★★★★The Times (UK)
Like evolution’s revenge, human intelligence brings great cost to women, making childbirth a perilous and torturous procedure, forever prey to patriarchal hegemony. Or so seems to be the thesis behind this cryptic, highly politicised and immersive multimedia work devised by the Irish artist-director Maeve Stone and Melbourne’s visionary feminist troupe the Rabble around Olwen Fouéré’s destabilisingly intense performance. Evoking the Cailleach, the Gaelic creation goddess, Fouéré stirs from a dark firmament of labour pain and wordlessly moans, flexes her spine, and paces endlessly. Over and over, she judders and shrieks as she births the Burren’s landscape, stone by grykey limestone, tearing each jagged spearhead from between her legs. Tethered by an umbilical trapeze-rope from the roof, she flails to escape, pathetically running and wailing before collapsing and slowly metamorphosing, unsticking herself as if from some glistening insectile pupa, before again moulting, hatching and unfurling into “humanity”. Fouéré is elemental; her lithe, slight, boyish frame and Beckettian visage variously interrogating us. When words finally come, they struggle up through fluted breath, throat-song and some primordial ur-tongue, before her clipped, manic diction talks of coerced birth, “broken pelvises”, “bodies decided in court”, “miscarriages of justice” and “unremarked graves”. Perverse, real, harrowing and deeply affecting, this is a universal, unforgettable masterpiece of performance art.– MM
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UNWOMAN III is the premiere of this Irish-Australian collaboration of THE RABBLE & Maeve Stone presented for Dublin Fringe Festival. All three parts of UNWOMAN will premiere November 2019 in Melbourne.