Tiger Dublin Fringe 2016: Performance About a Woman
Photo credit: Jenna Wakani
While it will undoubtedly resonate with many, ‘Performance About a Woman’ is a performance about a specific woman. The woman in question being Liz Peterson who, along with collaborator Rose Plotek, crafted ‘Performance About a Woman’ to give voice to her demons, of which there are many. Such is the power and potency of these demons that no single form is capable of containing them all. Which is perhaps why Peterson merges stand-up, dance, poetry, theatre, performance art, song, grunts, sighs, groans and cries in ‘Performance About a Woman,’ an extraordinary experience filled with a soft spoken intensity, like looking deep into the eyes of a stranger.
With echoes of Marina Abramović in ‘The Artist is Present,’ Peterson moves through the room, channelling her demons like a New Orleans voodoo priestess. Caught in the throes of demonic possession, Peterson is the all seeing seer, the powerful psychic in contact with the invisible world which she alone sees and hears. From there, spirits and demons compel her body to movement, which she sometimes resists, sometimes goes with it, sometimes while speaking, singing, sighing or emitting guttural grunts and groans. She talks of sense and nonsense, all the while channeling forces larger than herself in an utterly gripping performance where the personal and the random, the projected and the unknown, all come to bear upon the performer.
‘Performance About a Woman’ is at its best when it struggles to go beyond the limits of language, stuttering and stammering to give shape to its own words. If its cornucopia of styles merge incredibly well, its stand up section is perhaps its weakest, being solely dependent on words, which are not 'Performance About a Woman's' strongest suite. In 'Performance About a Woman,' Peterson weaves her dark magic in her own hypnotic and spellbinding fashion, out of which something primal, powerful and utterly vulnerable emerges. Something it is a privilege to witness.
‘Performance About a Woman’ by Liz Peterson in collaboration with Rose Plotek runs at Bewleys Café Theatre@ Powerscourt as part of The Tiger Dublin Fringe until September 24th