Celebrate the “very broad church of womxnhood” with Mary Higgins and Ell Potter, creators of a show definitely not about vaginas
IMAGE HOLLY REVELL
Hello, we’re Mary and Ell. We’re best friends, ex-girlfriends, and the creators of HOTTER, our sweaty two-woman show now approaching its third birthday.
We’ve talked and written so much about HOTTER by now, so today we’ve decided to do something a wee bit different. We’d like to say: This is not a show about vaginas.
Being two queer women who make theatre loosely concerning the femme experience, people often point us in the direction of yonic art and vag-centric articles. Don’t get us wrong, we love being pointed in the direction of vaginas (in more ways than one), but sometimes we wonder if people think that’s what our show is all about.
To be fair, HOTTER does feature vaginas. Quite a few, in fact. We love them – our own, other people’s, and, once upon a time, each other’s. We got together when we first started making the show, at the turn of our 21st years, and met each other’s vaginas as we were discovering our own. Let it be known: vaginas are universally lovely, squelchy, folded things.
When we made HOTTER, we asked 40 cis women and trans people questions about their bodies. We start coyly: “Would you rather be hot or cold?” Then things warm up a bit: “When’s the sweatiest you’ve ever been?” By the end, we’re asking: “How do you wank?”
People are amazingly honest if you give them the chance. HOTTER dances and sings about hotness and bodies from head to toe. It’s about the days when you feel like Beyoncé incarnate and the days when you feel like a lonely slug. It’s about sweating, gushing, the menopause, puberty, pain, old age, dysmorphia, sex and shitting.
If we made a show about men and masculine presenting people (we actually are; it’s called FITTER – watch this space), people wouldn’t leave the theatre saying “What a wonderful show about penises!” Articles and reviews wouldn’t carry phallus-fanatic headlines. It’s great that vaginas bathe in so much limelight these days (vive la vagine!), and long may it continue, but that’s not the fight we’re fighting.
If HOTTER is about any specific body part, it’s probably the mouth: it’s about talking. Liberating genitals is just one part of a holistic mission to get people speaking loudly and honestly about what it’s like to live in their own body.
We love womxn. And HOTTER celebrates a very broad church of womxnhood. You don’t need to have a vagina to know how it feels to look down at your body and not be best-pleased with what you see. You don’t need to have a vagina to know how it feels to be against your body. You don’t need a vagina to enjoy the sensation of dancing, sweating, wibbling, wobbling.
And especially now, in an age of proliferating TERFS, we’re keen to make this very clear. Vaginas, we love you. But this time, it’s not about you.
Ell & Mary
Underbelly Cowgate, 12-25 August, 8pm
Soho Theatre 2-7 September, 7.15pm
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