* * * COMING TO THE SUBSTATION, MELBOURNE, 2019 * * *
By THE RABBLE and Maeve Stone
Featuring Olwen Fouéré, Dana Miltins and Mary Helen Sassman
Unwoman is a woman.
Unwoman is not a woman.
Unwoman is song.
Unwoman is a crime.
Unwoman is a real and substantial risk.
An uncompromising piece of feminist theatre by THE RABBLE in collaboration with Irish artist Maeve Stone, UNWOMAN examines bodily autonomy and reproductive rights.
Production Photo David Paterson
Unwoman is presented by THE RABBLE and The SUBSTATION. This project has been supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts. Unwoman Part III (2018) was created with commissioning support from Dublin Fringe Festival, developed through FRINGE LAB and produced with support from Pan Pan Theatre (Ireland).
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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 premiered in and was presented by Dublin Fringe Festival, 8 – 16 September, 2018 | Samuel Beckett Theatre | Dublin, Ireland