Dublin Fringe Review: Unwoman

Review by Siofra Nic Liam

Unwoman Part III, from Australian feminist theatre company The Rabble and Dublin artist Meave Stone, performed by Olwen Fouéré, is a durational performance art piece.

The stage is simple, with a white background and rocks set around the stage. Fouéré is a pregnant, post menopausal woman, forever having contractions and giving birth to rocks which she places with the others on stage.

Fouéré is tied by a rope to the ceiling, so she can never leave the stage, though she tries. Her contractions are uncomfortable to watch as she spends the majority of the performance moaning and crying out in pain.

The sound design fits well, and is often monotonous. We see this woman’s pregnancy as something forced on her, taking away her choice, something which Irish people can relate to in a post repeal the 8th referendum era.

This piece is obviously well thought out and has much to analyse, however, this piece also manages to not be particularly interesting to watch for an hour.

While making good use of audio visual equipment, recording Fouéré on stage and projecting it in front of the audience, and having her fade in and out of sea side landscapes, it still fails to captivate, and is, quite frankly, one of the least accessible shows in the Fringe festival, requiring a particular interest in this style of performance, and knowledge of the themes and art form.

The highlight of the piece is the contrast between the animal like performance that Fouéré gives for the majority of the piece, with the spoken word at the end which brings home the theme of women’s oppression.

Technically well made and designed, with an excellent performer, this piece falls short of being interesting and drags on for far longer than necessary.

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