Words Alysha Jensen photos Julie Zhu
Medusa will attack your senses, your emotions and all views you have on the power structures around us. Be prepared to be challenged on how you think theatre should be structured because this is a collage of deconstructed theatricality, dance, sonic composition and performance art.
It is powerful, it is angry, it is beautiful, it is quiet, it is loud, it is raw, it is uplifting and monstrous all at the same time in this tangled web of messiness.
This physical, non-narrative structure is what Nisha Madhan, Julia Croft and Virginia Frankovich are trying to achieve because as they say “Our worlds are not stories that have beginnings, middles and neatly tied up ends….it’s a messy world that sometimes doesn’t make sense and the work we make tends to be this way as well.”
The first 10 minutes of the show however start off still and quiet, leaving me wondering if we needed the earplugs handed to us at the door (Spoiler…..you do). The three women sit on stage staring back at the audience, challenging the gaze of everyone there. They are drawn towards any sound made. Awkward giggles fill the theatre, when they do finally speak, it is in unison, in a harmony of sorts. This does not last long as it becomes chaotic cacophony of voices, saying the same thing three times, three times, three times. There are pauses in the show where they ask the audience if they want to leave, nobody does.
The chaos ensues with looped sound, that is primal, loud, angry, hurt and passionate. The sound takes on it’s own life as if it is living and breathing all around is. It pushes us into the belly of the monster, to feel what it feels. The last phase the three women are backlit with sledge hammers, leaving us in anticipation of what is about to happen. They begin smashing the set apart, there is set flying everywhere, they reveal three pools of clay. There is no hesitation as they climb into the clay, into the mess. They spread the clay all over themselves, there bodies, faces, mouths. The last scene we are left with is the three women entwined joined together by the clay.
This show is a sensory overload and how it connects to you is individual, there are no guided narratives telling you how you should feel, it is just raw, emotive live art, giving you the permission to take away from it what you want, what you need. Medusa has been an ancient message of menacing female sexuality. In our patriarchal society she is used to portray any women in power as monstrous but feminism is claiming her back in this show. Thanks to Q’s Matchbox season and Zanetti Productions for bringing these works to life and allowing our societal norms to be challenged.