Creator: Liz Peterson
Reviewer: Clara Mallon
Performance about A Woman comes to the Bewleys Café Theatre as part of this year’s Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. As a favourite of Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival 2015, there is an air of anticipation attached to this international act.
As we enter the quaint theatre, we take our places on cushions scattered throughout the performance space. This unusual seating arrangement allows Peterson to make use of the entire space, continually weaving in and out, transcending the usually rigid boundaries between audience and performer.
From the onset, the solo performer engages the audience with high energy and a charismatic sincerity which she commendably holds for the duration.
Peterson alternates between addressing the audience as a collective, and individual spectators. In a surprisingly un-intrusive manner, she incorporates audience reactions into different parts of the improvisation.
Taking us on a whirlwind subversive journey, this performer makes use of many different mediums throughout the piece. From comic and sometimes quirky stand-up and improvisation, to more intense moments of dance, song and spoken word, the tone of the piece is continually shifting.
Peterson’s autobiographical piece offers a bizarre yet emotionally open exploration of identity politics. We are taken through the high and low realities of a woman’s experience, involving flashing instances of dreams alongside darker nightmarish moments.
This play is exactly what it says on the tin, a performance about a woman. By the end of the piece, Peterson exposes female gender identity as undefinable, unfixed, fluid and ever-changing.
Keeping in with a Fringy vibe, the piece is playfully experimental and structurally fragmented. Nonetheless the deconstructed performance is thought-provoking and manages to evoke very real emotions.
Runs until 24 September as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival | Image: Jenna Wakani