AN image that has always stuck with Feet First Collective director Teresa Izzard is the mythical Medusa; a monster at once beautiful and ugly.
One of three Gorgon sisters in Greek mythology, Medusa had living, poisonous snakes for hair, but beautiful eyes that could turn anyone who caught her gaze to stone.
Izzard was fascinated by the character and wanted to unpack it more; it seemed the timing was apt.
“There were multiple versions of the why did Medusa become a monster,” Izzard said.
“The one question that we were kind of most fascinated with was whether or not she had been raped by the god Poseidon.
“When we started this in early 2020, it was before Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame stories had come out.
“So, as we worked on it, this was what was going on in the media.
“The answer to the question, ‘is Medusa relevant today’, that is a resounding ‘yes’, because she was a young woman who was actually in Athena’s temple in the place where she should have been protected.”
Izzard said by raping Medusa, Poseiden had defiled the temple.
Medusa goes to a theater seeking help, but the head full of snakes she receives as protection turns out to be a curse as well.
Izzard said in the context of the media media reporting of Brittany Higgins’ allegations of a rape in Parliament, there were interesting parallels with the story of Medusa.
And like that coverage, Feet First are working on being in the face of their audience.
“It is a 360-degree performance; it’s a behind you, it’s in front of you, it’s above you, sometimes it will be below you, depending on where you are,” Izzard said.
She hopes the audience integrates into the fabric of the work, enrolled as clubbers or patrons of Athena’s temple, which is the name given to the club where the updated version is set.
Knowing that it’s touchy material they’re dealing with, Izzard said they’ve taken some precautions.
“We’ve had a consulting psychotherapist on the project who’s helped us with some of those really tricky themes, to navigate them both dramaturgically within the fabric of the world but also for the actors as well, because this is a lot of stuff they have to portray,” she said.
“Nobody’s going to have had the same experience or had the same amount of information, the same information pieces.”
by ARIANA ROSENBERG
Feet First Collective
The Rechabite Hall
William St, Northbridge
August 3 – 6
6 – 8.30pm (with a short interval)