Kate Mulvany has reimagined a foundation myth, blending narratives from across Greek mythology to give us a new version of Demi-Gods and indomitable Queens, in order to re-examine the most ancient of battles: the battle of the sexes.
Placing warrior women at the centre of the story, imagine, Kate proposed, if these legendary figures had existed and were brutal, fierce, trouser wearing, spear wilding, loyal, protective beings who offered a sanctuary to women, away from the confines of gender and from gender-based violence? And what if their notoriety extended so far and wide, that men desired to fight, abduct, conquer and kill them, to prove their metal and claim their stakes as the toughest of them all.
And then, Kate asked: what if, in 2019, female identifying folk knew about, and could draw from these legends? Imagine if we could harness the mighty power of these women, because it existed within us, an ancient power that stemmed, deep, from the fury and strength of those who had come before? Imagine if we’d known about them all along? If we worshiped and paid homage to them? What power would that hold for us today? How high would we hold our heads, knowing that we had arisen from these fierce warriors?
Interrogating the origin of these myths and being asked to reengage with them in 2019 has been a sobering experience. Just like our sisters who came before, our sisters today continue to live within the shadow of men. To lay a claim on these legendary figures, to bring them to the stage and breath life into them through the body of the actor, has been a great gift, and a thrilling opportunity to unpack, question and dismantle the gender binary.
Kate is one of many great writers carving out space through story to refocus the female identifying experience and address the ongoing confines of masculinity and femininity. In the long tradition of feminist theatre, Kate has exploited the full power of theatre, so we may bear witness to some shameful truths about what we do to each other and the great power imbalances that still dictates our existence.
I want to thank Charlie Parkinson (ex AD of TTC) for commissioning Kate for this work, having identified the need to do so when he could not find a play fit for the best female actresses in this State to perform. I want to thank the cast, Jane Longhurst, Jane Johnson, Mel King, Ben Winspear and Sara Cooper for their unwavering belief in the power of the writing, and their willingness to put all of themselves into the material. The creative team, Jill Munro (set and costumes), Jess Dunn (composition) and Nic Higgins (Lighting) with the support of Max Ford who’ve worked tirelessly to deliver a cohesive and evocative world for us to live out this story. And finally, I want to thank Adam (Gus) Powers, TTC’s Artistic Director, who’s quiet dedication and constant support and encouragement, has allowed us all to bring out our best, for you, our audience.
Enjoy The Mares.