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This article was posted on 01 Jun 2014, and is filed under Volume 3, Issue 1.

A Show of Solidarity: Nic Green’s ‘Trilogy’

Wendy Hubbard

 

Abstract: This article argues that Nic Green’s 2009 feminist dance/theatre work Trilogy involves its audience in the drama of its making, drawing attention to an event of feminist solidarity that it both aims to produce and that it simultaneously depends on. I am concerned, throughout, with solidarity as a powerful source of feeling, and with considering the conditions that make solidarity possible and perceptible. I draw on my own experience as a spectator of the performance, and I work to understand the forceful mixture of exhilaration and relief I felt watching a large troupe of female volunteers dance naked together on a brightly lit stage.

 

The first main part of the article engages with crowd theory. I think about the sense of political threat and promise associated with collective gatherings where solidarity might manifest. I use the misogyny of some crowd-theory in order to suggest that particular dynamics and histories  – concerning the exclusion of the female from the political – come into play when Green crowds her stage with women. The next part of the article thinks about the co-implication of joy and solidarity that I suggest is visibly, palpably at work in Trilogy. Here I consider affect theorist John Protevi’s engagement with historian William McNeill, around McNeill’s claims for the power of rhythmic entrainment to produce a powerful and consequential sensation of solidarity, a collective joy (McNeill 1995; Protevi, cited in Gilbert 2014, p.183-4). Finally, I think about the mechanisms by which this performance event draws attention to its dependence on solidarity, such that its very existence seems to occasion, evidence and expose that solidarity. I argue that Trilogy succeeds in making the expansive event of solidarity itself sensible: perceptible, and indeed – spectacular.

 

Keywords: solidarity; feminism; crowd theory; performance; affect; unison.

 

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Biography: Wendy Hubbard is a PhD candidate in the Drama Department at Queen Mary, University of London, where she holds an AHRC studentship. Her thesis has the working title ‘In Company: Togetherness on the Postdramatic Stage.’ Her research interests include contemporary theatre, critical theory, the politics of authorship and amateurism, and philosophies of language and nonsense. Wendy is also a practicing director and dramaturg. Current projects include Interregnum, a new performance about the English Civil War and the disorientation of democracy, with Gemma Brockis (Shunt).  Her recent directing includes Jamie Wood’s Beating McEnroe (2013); Chris Goode’s God/Head (National Tour 2012) and The Forest and the Field (National Tour 2013); and collaborating on Melanie Wilson’s Autobiographer (International tour 2011- 2012) and Landscape II (Dublin Festival, National Tour 2013).

 

Image Credit:

Photo by Will Potts. © Nic Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

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