performed by Sofia Mavragani

Why fill my head with thoughts, and a desire to share them, then put me in the body of a woman? So asks one performer of God in Sofia Mavragani's Speechless, a three-hander channelling the voices of female authors writing in the 11th, 14th and 20th centuries.

From the biological description of a vaginal orgasm to an attack on the social niceties required of a good daughter, feminism has been around for longer than we think.

Delivered in Greek, with English subtitles, the piece fuses text, vocal compositions (the voice as instrument) and movement, wrapped up in black cotton ra-ra skirts (including the male performer). 

Yet despite the importance of words in this piece, the most powerful moments are indeed speechless - a communal screwing up of paper in defiant disregard, and the closing image of open legs and silently mouthing faces.

Sofia Mavragani’s Speechless prises the female body open from the inside out. The trio of performers, one male and two female, engage in a triangle of text, song and dance.  They shimmy on the spot, swaying their hips from side to side, peeling away at layers of femininity, with dense texts that fall ambiguously between the glorification and condemnation of the female form. What is the function of the womb? He grapples at her crotch, his fingers fanning out like winged extensions of her vulva. She looks at us blankly. He speaks with his lips locked against her back, gurgling, as if submerged by the ocean. She looks at us blankly. He grasps her sex tightly, lifts her full body weight as if holding an oddly shaped cup and carries her across the stage. She looks at us blankly.

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Spring Forward
24 - 26 April 2020
Rijeka & Opatija, Croatia

Watch on demand: aerowaves.org/springforward

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