Hey girl. Feb 3, 2008
by Tania Kupczak
Wow. What a show of contradictions: so full of images but so lacking in fully realized ideas. I experienced moments of true visceral response, like I never have before. The images "Hey Girl" created had real power to move me that had nothing whatsoever to do with intellectual response. I felt them in my gut. And what images: the woman's birth through latex was beautiful, then her discovery of herself through the mirror, beating a drum naked in primal frustration, the choice between the lipstick and the burning sword, between the path to the left and the path to the right and the most powerful - when she is being beaten by countless men... these almost brought me to tears.
And then the rest of the play happened. And I was lost. I mean, I loved the big head puppets, but nothing ever happened with them - if they were supposed to mean something then I just didn't get it. And when Girl 2 was introduced she looked completely uncomfortable being naked. Which made me uncomfortable with her being naked. Then a white man put her (a naked black woman) in chains and it didn’t feel daring or controversial, it just felt exploitative. When the glass windows suspended across the stage shattered it should have been an amazing visual image full of remarkable potency. But all I could focus on was the fact that the Girl 1 had bare feet and she might cut herself.
But the thing that really lost me was when Girl 1 covered naked Girl 2 with silver paint, then put her in high heels and gave her a sword to dance on broken glass. In the first part, Girl 1 encountered the sword and could barely lift it, gave a feeble attempt at being Joan of Arc before tossing it aside as being too symbolic (a valid choice, but not the ONLY choice) Did Girl 2 react differently to the sword than Girl 1 had? Not really. Girl 2 couldn’t really hold the sword either so she just kind of dragged it and dropped it and did a weird and not beautiful dance for a LONG time in the almost darkness.
And the end of the show was so uneventful that I can barely recall it even now, 1.5 days later. Someone’s giant upside-down head was painted on a canvas ”¦ and then the lights went out onstage and up on the audience and no one seemed to know if the show was over or not.
Overall, I was grateful to have seen the show – some of the images from the first half were powerful enough to have sustained me throughout the whole piece. But the thing I took away that will stay with me the longest – a love of liquid latex onstage. Man, that stuff dripped forever and it was the most fascinating thing to watch throughout the second half of the show.
- Darian Lindle