Dublin Fringe Festival: WAGE

WAGE by Fitzgerald & Stapleton as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2013

WAGE by Fitzgerald & Stapleton as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2013

‘Tickets are offered for female and female identified audience members at a discounted rate in respect of the 13.9% gender pay gap in Ireland.’ So says the blurb for WAGE, the latest offering from provocative choreographers Fitzgerald and Stapleton. The audience pile in to the theatre, wage-paid-for tickets in hand, filing past the two naked, female dancers who are already moving on stage.
Fitzgerald and Stapleton perform naked for the duration, confronting the audience with the female form unadorned. It shouldn’t be confrontational, and yet it is.

Their bodies are shown in a range of poses and movements, sometimes insouciant, occasionally graceful, often awkward and silly. Watching them, you realise that the range of poses in which the naked female body is often presented publicly (in magazines, in films, in pornography) is limited and unrealistic.
The performers speak to each other in strange, unworldly voices about mundane, worldly matters (water filterers a choice example) while contorting their limbs. The lighting changes from softly flattering to stark and clinical, revealing their bodies bleached out and bone-white. It’s an antidote to a hyper-sexualised image of the female form that has become common.

WAGE is absurd and without narrative, presenting a series of moments that career from the serious and investigative, to the playful, to the unnerving. It generates a sense of discomfort that occasionally resolves itself into humour before ricocheting abruptly into unease again.
This is a difficult balance to achieve, yet Fitzgerald and Stapleton manage it, with fierce and single-minded conviction.

Star rating: ★★★★

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Dublin Fringe Festival: WAGE by Fitzgerald and Stapleton Dance Theatre

7-10 Sept

Produced by Fitzgerald and Stapleton Dance Theatre
In Project Arts Centre Cube

 A co-production with Project Arts Centre and Abrons Arts Center New York.