Women are at the heart of this play, and the chorus rightfully take centre stage. It is a patchwork flurry of multi-coloured women, all residents of Southwark- having trained for the play since September under the direction of Ramin Gray, choreographer Sasha Milavic Davies and vocal leader Mary King. The chorus of women largely operate as one body, only splitting off to individual voices in times of crisis, Gemma May giving a highly commendable performance as chorus leader. The use of incense, candles, torches, flapping scarves and confetti all invite a high sensory engagement. Live percussion and woodwind accompanies Greig’s rhythmically loaded language, reminiscent of Kate Tempest’s metered delivery, albeit en-masse. The women brandish suppliant branches threaded with white fabric which they use to simulate the motion of their journey by sea, swing over their heads and lay down as offerings to their recipients. The women are plagued by the violence of men, their attractive youth and their vulnerability as asylum seekers, crying “the worries of women as exiles are endless”. This speaks of a universal female condition; their only bargaining chip in the kingdom of men being the threat of self-destruction through suicide, cursing the city of Argos. This is a play that ruminates on human migration and attitudes towards migrants, transcending the historicity of the original; “if you’re a migrant the people will talk”.
"Equal power to all Women" is the triumphant closing war-cry. It is eternally relevant.
Words by Literary and Creative Editor, Ellie Potts.
|Photo by Stephen Cummiskey|