Passing the Bechdel test
Director/choreographer: Jan Martens/GRIP & fABULEUS
performers: Isabel Braamkolk, Noor Caestecker, A. Claassen, Renée De Coninck, Luna Glowacki, Bente Govaerts, Noor Hollemeersch, Birgit Lesage, Marie Libens, Hannah Peiren, Celina Vercruysse, Yanou Van Dessel, Mirren Vandenberk
with the support of Belgian Embassy and Flanders State of The Art
On the stage, 13 teenagers, who identify themselves (or not) as girls and women, use words and movements to step into each other’s shoes and those of some female authors and personalities from the past and present, from Woolf to Winterson, from Sontag to Solnit. Text fragments from letters, diaries, lyrics, essays and TED talks form the frame of the performance. Drawing on his choreographic perspective, JanMartens designs a manifesto for the future, in order to reflect on topics, such as gender equality and diversity in today’s world. PASSING THE BECHDEL TEST aims in the first place to be a snapshot, to draw up the current state of affairs, and this, in relation to the past and a utopian future.
The title refers to the test named after the cartoonist Alison Bechdel. In 1985, in an episode of her comic strip DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR (see next page), she set out the guidelines for what would later become an instrument for measuring the active presence of women in films, books and other media. The basic principles require that a film, say, contains at least one scene in which women talk to each other about things other than men, that the women in this scene have a name, and that the total amount of these scenes surmounts five minutes. Apparently, 97% of movies coming out of Hollywood don’t pass the test.