When I was growing up, Wage was what a man earned for his daily toil.

We heard regularly of the ‘wages of sin’. We were told to beware the punishment of hell. It was all fire and brimstone back then. I wore a knee length skirt, fashionable for the time, it seemed to creep above my knees when in a sitting position and to this day I can hear the rebuke: “Cover your knees, you shameless hussy!”

I wonder what the nuns who said that to me all those years ago, would think of the show I saw on stage last night, or of me for attending it and having some input? Surely they would have us condemned to eternal damnation.

But when you think about it, eternal damnation cannot be long…. Cremation of a body lasts approximately 90 minutes until the process is complete and all that remains are small amounts of bone and ash. So I can live with that! 😉

Anyways, as we say in Dublinese, back to last night. My visit to Dublin Fringe Festival to see WAGE at the Project Arts Centre, Cube.

Fitzgerald & Stapleton are a contemporary dance company founded by Emma Fitzgerald and Áine Stapleton, who aim to redefine representation of the dancing body through frequent performance. They choreograph collaboratively using language as a tool to animate and direct the dancer’s performance of their choreography.

“The scores we write include directions and instructions written in language ranging from pragmatic to poetic. Our politic is to accept with respect whatever form the body responds with as it negotiates these scores. The fundamental challenge in each performance is to remain attentive to the body as a living/dying organism that constantly orientates itself to its environment – in this way it is similar to vipassana meditation practice where the attention rests on the breath – but we are attempting to pay attention to the whole body each instant.”

Áine & Emma were on stage throughout the performance, dressed as they were on arrival into this world – naked. I am not so sure from the mutterings of the man (my vintage) sitting beside me, if he was very comfortable with two naked ladies dancing at arms reach in front of him (we were in the front row). He sat it out, but he and his female companion were out the door like a shot when the performance ended.

As we were forewarned, the piece was challenging and complex. Through video, text and movement it examined the roles imposed on women’s bodies by society and in particular, at the prostitution industry. It moved from anger to hilarity, yet was at times poignant.

For the finale, the girls returned to the stage clothed this time and were joined for a brief discussion, by Justine Reilly, a co-founder of SPACE – Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment, to give a real-life context to Wage’s ideals.

Justine is very aware of the damage of prostitution and rape, she had been introduced to the ‘game’ by her partner and pimp. Eventually after twenty years, she found the exit door and became involved in activism for the good of other victims.

We had a few words with Justine after the show, but did not hang about, I had a fall yesterday and my ankle was sore*. (Do you think I can blame the nuns??)

We sure had plenty to think about and discuss on the journey home.

* I made it to the Project Arts Centre with the aid of a crutch provided by Elly, and her strong arm on the other side. Today will be a day of rest.

21 thoughts on “WAGE

  1. wisewebwoman

    I would have loved it, GM. Daughter and I have long decried the new classification of prostitution as “sex workers” and as an activist in this arena, her life has been threatened. The play sounds powerful and moving and if it makes people uncomfortable, they need to look at themselves a little closer.

  2. fitzgeraldandstapleton

    Grannymar, thanks so much for coming along to the show and for your contributions to Mine – which were the backbone of Wage 🙂 It’s wonderful to read your response to the show, so insightful and articulate. Thanks for being part of our journey. I hope your ankle heals up soon xxx Emma

    1. Grannymar

      Thank you Emma for inviting me to be part of that journey. I am sorry I could not stay longer last night. I needed more pain relief and to raise and rest my foot. I should be going home today, but George has hidden my keys!

    1. Grannymar

      Nancy, I am no stranger to naked bodies, both male and female, I have washed and cared for them since my early teens, but I am inclined to agree that there were parts when a body suit might have been a good idea,

  3. Áine

    Thanks Grannymar! What a pleasure to have you involved, what an inspiration!Hope to see you for a proper chat sometime soon.
    Big thanks!
    Áine xo

  4. Celia

    Thanks for the review! I have issues with the term “sex worker” too. Seems an attempt to sanitize what happens for public consumption. Humans as property. We should be uncomfortable.

  5. Three Well Beings

    I think most protest art makes me really uncomfortable, and this certainly would have been a challenge. But I admire artists who use their giftedness to speak about the uncomfortable, and in truth, if it’s hard for me to even sit through, that tells me a lot about the relevance of the content. How much harder to be a woman caught in this dismal and hopeless (and dangerous) world. It sounds like a fascinating performance you won’t soon forget or stop talking about with others. I hope you are resting! So sorry about your fall!

  6. Brighid

    What an interesting review, of what sounds like a thoughtful work! Sadly to me, we are bombarded with so much these days, we don’t seem to have time to contemplate what is before or behind us,,,
    Hope your healing nicely!

    1. Grannymar

      Brighid, we live in a world of thirty second sound bites, every hour on the hour. By the end of the day we have sound bite fatigue and become immune to what really needs to be discussed.

      George has really hidden the car keys so I am still under house arrest. The swelling reduced a little today, but tonight it is back again. Hopefully by morning it will have improved again.


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