Power, joy and witchy rage

In defence of all that is girl pop, POWER offers a tribute to UK pop sensation Little Mix while the cast shares their own stories of heartbreak, frustration, and the ongoing struggles of living in this patriarchal weirdo world. Ahead of opening night, we chatted to the cast. Have a read!

EMMA:

There is a lot of joy in this show, but there's a lot of witchy rage too.

What has surprised you about the process of creating POWER?

I've done a lot of theatre work, but I've found POWER to be a far more holistic process than I'm used to. Sharing stories and experiences in a space that feels safe is such a good feeling, and I'd like to bring it into my further work.

How do we destroy current systems of power?

Fight it. Stand up and say no when you see injustice. Classic liberalism says that we should ask for a more liberal monarch, or have more women/queer cops - but that doesn't fight power - it just contributes to those existing societal structures that have been born out of corruption and marginalisation. To truly destroy corrupt power, we need to hit it at its source. We cannot make change without actively making change.

How does feminist joy manifest in performance?

It's hard to be yourself on stage, I think that's why I've always gravitated towards character roles. The feminist joy within POWER is that I have a space to be myself - to step outside of expectations and fears about what I look like and who I am and just enjoy myself as myself on stage. There aren't many places where you can do that.

What can audiences expect from this show?

Tone shifts. There is a lot of joy in this show, but there's a lot of witchy rage too.

TALIA:

POWER contains all the makings of a catchy pop song that you can’t get out of your head. We know. We’ve tried.

What has surprised you about the process of creating POWER?

I’ve been surprised how in sync we are as a team during the construction process. We never disagree and always encourage each other’s ideas, because we genuinely think they’re good ones. We acknowledge that each of us brings something to the table that contributes to a bigger and greater result than before.

How do we destroy current systems of power?

If you destroy something, you can’t learn from it, so the greatest chance we have to combat ineffective power systems is to understand how and why they were made, how they make us feel, and use those feelings and that knowledge to create something that serves us better in the future.

How does feminist joy manifest in performance?

Dancing and singing is joyful but being able to express ourselves and speak up about our experiences as women and feminists is much more important. Performing is a great way to show the realness of a situation when you see it up close, accompanied with lights, lyrics and a visual interpretation. That realness and confronting openness of POWER relates to the openness we need today as women have swept their needs and desires under the rest of society for too long. POWER provides a safe space for us to say, hey, this is what we want, this is how we’re going about it, and there is definitely joy in knowing our voices are being heard and will continue to be heard.

What can audiences expect from this show?

POWER contains all the makings of a catchy pop song that you can’t get out of your head. We know. We’ve tried.

LOO:

I think it will help people in the audience feel good about their bodies and selves and to reflect on their own stories in a new way.

What has surprised me about the process of creating POWER?

I've been surprised at its ability to lift me out of some really down moods this winter. It was surprising that I could still dance while I had the flu! And it seemed to make me feel better. I'm surprised at how good it has felt to step into this girl-band character and play all sassy, which isn't normally part of my personality - I thought I would feel more uncomfortable and awkward but I think I've discovered a new part of myself and I like it!

How do we destroy current systems of power?

I think by making fun of them and twisting the stories of who's got the power. Like when we stop seeing the figures of power as these big evil characters and start seeing them as actors playing silly roles and then make fun of them and switch the roles around. There's something about the mix of joy and power and humour that feels like a winner to me for destroying old power dynamics.

And I think the current power systems thrive off us hating our bodies and getting stuck in our heads so dancing helps! And big confident expressions of self-love and bringing our bodies out in whichever ways feel good to us.

Banishing shame!!! That's how we do it!

How does feminist joy manifest in performance?

I think feminist joy manifests through this 'fuck em all' sassy joyful attitude. There's something about it being in a show which means we can assume these unashamedly confident characters that exude power and joy, even if we don't feel like we have permission to do that in 'real life'. That feels so good! And once I've had the taste of that empowered feeling it starts to come into my 'real life' too.

There's also joy in speaking about really vulnerable messy truths without any shame.

What can audiences expect from this show?

Maybe audiences can get something similar to what I've got from being in it. It's given me this feeling of confidence and empowerment and a sense that I really can do what I want and be really loving at the same time. It's also made me appreciate my body more and enjoy being in it and dancing. I think it will help people in the audience feel good about their bodies and selves and to reflect on their own stories in a new way.

POWER is on at Basement Theatre from 16 - 20 July. Book tickets or find out more here.