Leather jacket, denim, hats, studs, bushy moustaches and beards – the stage is invaded by four masculine characters. The fictional looking ‘’men’’ seem out of a biker movie, rolling and eating the space fervently, grotesquely fighting and cheering for each other inside a square arena drawn on the floor.
Soon enough the audience is immersed in doubt regarding the gender of the figures. We are taken on a scattered journey about gender, through an anthology of masculine features, a catalogue of the perfect Alpha male. The WOMANhouse calls us to literally look (and think) outside the box when gradually the nipples are freed and these dudes become dudettes. With a quite polite choreographic composition and the almost mandatory nudity for the grand finale, this piece flirts with sarcastic cuteness and political statements. Although full of content and narrative power, the controversy is perhaps not addressed fully enough.
“People call me Alex,” says a gruff man in a tank top, “but my real name is… Alex.” He’s one of four beardy blokes, their offhand stance, shaggy hair and ill-fitting clothes making them look like metalheads. They do, indeed, do a lot of thrash-guitar flailing. They stage cartoonishly violent fights of karate-chops and sucker-punches. They josh together, plant buddy-buddy kisses on each other’s cheeks, and eyeball the audience.
In this entirely exaggerated display of maleness, it’s a while before you suspect the dancers may be women. They do, eventually, bare their breasts. “What do you think?” growls one of them, “what do you see?” In truth, seeing this forceful headbanger of a piece stops our thoughts altogether, leaving us – like the figure rubbing troubled hands over her naked body – only with anxiety. Between male and female, between Alex and… Alex, the body lies subjugated.