by I'm Trying To Kiss You
Presented by Arts House/Next Wave
In a world where women have been idealised into powerlessness, one woman will fight to become the sexiest warrior of all time…
Welcome to the battlefield.
From the treadmill to the taco truck, Madonna Arms follows the internal struggle of chaos, terror and hope as one woman attempts physical transformation. Madonna Arms is a fantastical exploration of the ways in which power, strength and fitness live and die in the bodies and psyches of young women.
Absurd and ultimately heart-wrenching, this inspired performance work provides an insight into a dangerous cultural logic we have learnt to accept as part of our everyday lives – as futile and devastating as war.
Depicting the epic struggle behind a secret battle, Madonna Arms exploits the tropes of action and science fiction cinema to drag the female experience centre stage. Here the domestic is pushed up against the fantastical and the logical collides with the bizarre. Join us on a journey through the terrifying world of self-destruction.
ORIGINAL PERFORMANCE: 1st-10th May, 2014. The Meat Market, Arts House.
Written by Allison Wiltshire, Anna McCarthy & Zoey Dawson
Directed by Allison Wiltshire
Performed by Zoey Dawson, Anna McCarthy & Ella Harvey
Produced by Bek Berger
Sound & Composition Claudio Tocco
Set & Costume Romanie Harper
Lighting Katie Sfetkidis
Video Romanie Harper & Andre Vanderwert
Stage Manager Ainsley Kerr
Assistant Stage Managers Leticia Brennan-Steers & Debbie Yew
Sound Operator Milly Levakis-Lucas
Lighting Operator Adrien Black
Additional vocals by Marrianne Pierce
Mentored by Rinske Ginsberg
MADONNA ARMS has been supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria and assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, by Arts House's CultureLAB Program and through Next Wave's Kickstart program for Next Wave Festival 2014.
★★★★1/2/ THE AGE "Female theatre collective I'm Trying To Kiss You performs a kind of hyper-bricolage about this paradox, stealing and maiming references from music videos, perfume commercials, action flicks, beauty contests, pornography, motivational speaking and bodybuilding… Allison Wiltshire has directed an all-out sci-fi spectacle... incisive and gutsy… By turns heartbreaking and hilarious. The patriarchy won't know what hit it."
REALTIME "I thought it was the most exciting staging of new writing I have seen in Melbourne in a long time... Madonna Arms is a postdramatic text. Madonna Arms overlaps the sex-and-violence of popular culture with the vicious sublimated misogyny of ‘female interest’ magazines and celebrity gossip...The staging goes against the grain of the text, creating its own demented reality: women in bathing suits and boxing robes stand in front of a greenscreen, eschewing character, realistic setting, or dialogue, in favour of an abstracted work of pure theatre… I thought Madonna Arms signals a major new force in Australian playwriting."
VULTURE MAGAZINE "A fantastic piece of theatre… a powerful ensemble… I'm Trying To Kiss You take you to the edge of the universe and back. This is the kind of play you go to when you’re ready to be taken by the hair and dragged on a journey through time and space, one in which the familiar becomes unnatural and the absurd is exposed for what it truly is."
CONCRETE PLAYGROUND "Sheer magnificance... Saturated in pop culture references, crass for the sheer love of being crass, at once outrageously silly and charged with impassioned politics — this is exactly the kind of thing young performers should be doing with their time. Going to see it and feeling equal parts baffled, amused, affronted and inspired is exactly what you should be doing with yours."
All images used with permission from Theresa Harrison