Original Text

written in 1995

 

What does it mean to be 'A Man'? DV8's next project (Enter Achilles) intends to look beyond issues of sexuality to the fundamental question of what constitutes masculinity. Our premise is to show how feelings, thoughts and actions deemed to be 'unmanly' are hidden by men only to manifest themselves, albeit subliminally, in other ways. What are the compensating actions that men take when they deny their feelings?

 

'Unmanly' behaviour is often considered threatening, particularly by those who uphold rigid precepts of how men should behave. Why should non-conformity produce so much abhorrence and fear? Perhaps it reflects the fragility of masculine identity which has traditionally been about control — men controlling themselves and therefore needing to control others. Men have historically oppressed women, but the question explored in DV8's new work is: how oppressive have men been to themselves?

Through dance, DV8 will review male interactions. Using public bars as a starting point, we will look at how the pint, shared between men, can become a metaphor for bodily fluids / our life source, and how the qualities of the glass (the pint) can represent our rigidity, fragility and transparency. By juxtaposing the elements of intoxification/sobriety, soft/hard, straight/curved, beautiful/violent, we hope to discover the commonality that could bind men together rather than set them against themselves and one another.

This work will present itself as a poetical (movement) response, embracing the complexities and contradictions of the above ideas rather than reflecting didactic theories. The piece will concentrate on the personal in relation to stereotypical images, drawing on the individual experience, personality and movement vocabulary of each of its performers.

Lloyd Newson

HANDBILL COPY

written in 1995

DV8's new project (Enter Achilles) looks beyond the issues of sexuality to the fundamental question of what constitutes masculinity. Why do men police each others' behaviour, ever-ready to detect and eliminate unmanly activity, be it through ridicule, intimidation and/or threat? Why should non-conformity produce so much abhorrence and fear?

"In men's silence there is always the possibility of violence, infecting men's social relationships with an element of wariness. Under such conditions, what men will not allow in themselves they must deny in others." Rutherford Men's Silences

The straightjacket of masculinity defines itself in "don'ts": don't walk like that, don't talk like that, don't wear particular clothes or colours, don't show certain feelings. It's not that men don't express feelings — it's just that the feelings they show are often not the ones they actually feel.

Is it a problem? Or is all this just a series of gross generalisations?

Questioning the boundaries between the personal and the stereotypical, DV8 place eight men in a pub for a night and play the thin line between reality and fantasy — and ask you to tell the difference.

Men have historically oppressed women, but how oppressive have they been to themselves and one another?

Lloyd Newson

REVIVAL TOURS

written in 1997

"Work of genius that resonates with relevance to the human condition." The Scotsman

"DV8 must be the most exciting dance group in the world at the moment." The Age Melbourne

Hate dance? ... So do the guys in Enter Achilles. Ever been to a British pub? Ever drunk 18 pints of beer at once? Ever wanted someone who could hurt you? Do you own a sex doll? Do any of your friends? Would they tell you if they did?

DV8's Enter Achilles exploded onto European stages two years ago, shoving pub culture, spitting and pissing, into the rarified and pristine face of contemporary dance.

Questioning the boundaries between the personal and the stereotypical, DV8 place eight men in a pub for a night and play the thin line between reality and fantasy — and ask you to tell the difference.

"I remember something a woman I was going out with had told me a week or two before: that she didn't think men ever made lasting friendships .... 'You think you're talking about something else when you're talking about guitars and car engines and all that shit,' she told me, 'but really you're just talking about guitars and car engines.' "