Do you wonder why society finds Britney Spears’ ‘Hit me baby one more time’ video sexy? Or why the ‘Skool Disco’ at Corp exists?
Katy Dye’s energetic and fearless one-woman performance addressed all the uncomfortable yet imperative questions we should be asking ourselves about the infantilization of women. Why do we constantly want to be young? Why are men attracted to younger looking women?
The show starts with a bare stage and a highchair which Dye uses to create found sound; scrapping the chair against the stage and slamming it to the ground in a distressing sequence. This motif signifying the suffocating entrapment of the youthful curse that Katy expressess she is in. Introducing herself as twenty-seven, but constantly ‘complimented’ for looking younger, the play subsequently explored why we peculiarly find this a compliment.
The most controversial moments of the piece comes from the risky addition of audience participation. A male spectator was asked to come on stage to play with her hair, stroke her back and carry her like a baby across the stage.The same man was dragged (reluctantly) back on stage several times, leaving the audience confused whether to laugh, as Dye maintained a serious demeanour in her role of an infant. Another man was asked whether he fancied her dressed as a fifteen-year old girl. When he awkwardly replied “no”, she projected with “Would it be alright to imagine fancying a fifteen-year old girl without acting upon it?”. At this point, the girl next to me turned to me and said “wow”. I think that sums it up. Katy’s performance pushed for answers to questions that we would never expect to be asked.
Despite the distressing nature of the performance, there are moments of comedy as Dye squirts moisturiser all over herself and the stage, furiously repeating the benefits of making yourself hairless, younger and overall “less crappy”. This section becomes prevalent as she kept repeating “Girls, love the skin you are in!” – a comment on society’s corrupted attitude of associating childlike features with being sexy and beautiful.
This daring, bold and topical play renders you speechless as it both baffles and resonates simultaneously. She ends the play spraying baby powder everywhere, leaving a sinking white fog – we are left in a blur, unnerved and left to contemplate “is innocence really as sexy as we’re told it is?”
Image Credit: Dainel Hughes