"The collective mood was one of intense confrontation."
The history of female hysteria stretches across time and genre — from the wicked witch of folk tales to Mrs Rochester in her attic in Jane Eyre. All-girl collective Hissy Fit situate their spirited performance somewhere closer to this decade, in a punk performance that brings to mind Kathleen Hanna and metal band histrionics. Over the course of 60 minutes, Hissy Fit head banged their way through a series of progressions, from tableau, to punk singing, to physicalised experimental performance. You could see the level of control exerted by each member of the collective (Jade Muratore, Emily O'Connor and Nat Randall); it was obvious that intense physical preparation has gone into creating the piece.
The work was at its most powerful during moments of repetition; the women banged their head to the beat of a pounding synth for minutes and minutes. Here, the concept of pushing the body to a moment of rupture through internally-imposed control really resonated.
This reviewer's main concern with the performance was its aggressive and unexpected audience engagement. It was not clear whether the lead singer's frequent entreaties for the crowd to scream her lyrics back were earnest or simply another method of producing audience discomfort. Personally, it felt highly shocking, and it seems that was Hissy Fit's intention. However, each individual audience member reacted; the collective mood was one of intense confrontation, a clear consequence of Hissy Fit's two-year investigation into the performance of hysteria, and their commitment to risk-taking art.
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