Fragmentary Response, Responses

fragmentary/inadequate thoughts: a love note to the bacchae and gutsy young women

These were the notes prior to speaking about The Bacchae with Richard Watts on Smart Arts.

I do not want to contribute to the plethora of too short reviews so I have decided to deliberately present my notes as fragmentary thoughts. I want to acknowledge this is too small a space to discuss a show but I hope these add something to the conversation.

The Bacchae

THE BACCHAE, photo by Pia Johnston

THE BACCHAE, photo by Pia Johnston

There was a moment five minute/two breaths in that made me wish it was acceptable to fist pump/barrack/yell ‘fuck yeah’ in theatre. I am Dionysius, son of Zeus. If you don’t believe me, I will punish you. My excitement was full bodied. I stuttered/salivated/shuddered in my seat. Smashing the mundane/modern up against the sublime/mystic will always make me lose my shit.

This is a piece of theatre that takes place in the audience as much as on the stage. You must think/confront your own intellectual/emotive responses to the assertive/blatant/disturbing/joyous sexuality of young women. Confidence just rolls off this stage. They were gutsy/strong/100 percent on board with this artistic vision. This scared people. In a world where young female bodies drape across our billboards/drop from the sky if you wear Lynx/are just a click away/everywhere, those that look back/own it are still dangerous.

I was there for a Q & A on Wednesday night – “I have a daughter/I wouldn’t want to see her doing this/how old are you/the older the better, I say” – and they were having none of it. These young women, still growing into their bodies/sense of self/sense of feminism, made it immensely clear that they chose to stand on that stage/put those costumes on their bodies/move those bodies in a particular way.

It is the trope of Greek tragedies: things happen off stage and men run/drag their broken selves in to describe the horrors they have seen. so the ecstatic Dionysian fervor of the women is told through male voices/witnessed through male eyes. Here these voices are almost completely removed. Instead, we watch the women in all their badass/fuck off power.

I won’t forget this. This one is staying.

THE BACCHAE, photo by Pia Johnston

THE BACCHAE, photo by Pia Johnston


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