Created through a series of devised rituals performed every month during the dark moon (when the moon is black against the sky) for three months, this show is part lecture, part sideshow and part catharsis. Marisa Carnesky has gathered a cast who all have something to share about the often taboo subject of menstruation and, as you might expect, they have a lot to say.
This show will touch you, disturb you and delight you. See it.
Opening as a dry lecture with elements of humour, Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman quickly draws first blood as it literally pours down the face of our lecturer as she speaks. Blood is a recurring sight on stage as we see footage of Carnesky bathing in blood as a part of her response to personal tragedy, tales of sword-swallowing routines gone wrong, jelly presented as blood and even some psychic surgery leading to burlesque and circus legend, Fancy Chance performing her iconic hair-hanging routine whilst dripping red ichor on the stage.
This show is a true burlesque, with our attitudes of sexuality, cleanliness and even the portrayal of women in cabaret, circus and magic being placed in the crosshairs. We watch short films and performance art that add to the depth of the subject and in a particularly powerful moment, the wonderful Rhyannon Styles discusses her experiences as a woman who does not (and never will) bleed like the other women on stage simply because of an accident of her birth. Her take on the monthly ‘curse’ and her engagement with it and these self-proclaimed ‘Menstronauts’ is a highlight.
I saw this piece with a female friend with whom I am lucky enough to have a very open and frank relationship and we discussed Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman at length. It’s a show that stays with you and a makes you question your attitudes and beliefs about the power of women and their ability, their responsibility for birthing our future. This show will touch you, disturb you and delight you. See it.