To honour and celebrate creativity this International Womens’ Day, we’d like to introduce you to Joanne Tremarco. She is artistic director of Fool Size Theatre. Her work is concerned with balance and equality and through it she plays a part in this new wave of sexual revolution. She came into the public eye in 2012 when she was nearly arrested on Glastonbury High Street for being dressed as a Yoni and causing a public disturbance. Here is what she has to say about her work.
I am a Fool.
What’s that got to do with Women’s Health? Hear how it sounds like ‘Full’? Fullness is our Birth Right. To be all that we are. For century’s we have been divided into ‘Male’ and ‘Female’. Inside we are all things.
See how those two ‘O’s in the middle of ‘FOOL’ are like globes? Two distinct yet parallel spheres of being. In our immediate environment there are two worlds that exist concurrently; the in-visible world and the visible world. Both are equally substantial, vital and requiring of our attention and nurture.
Every action made, whether creative or destructive, begins in the in-visible world. This world is the root of all things. It is the cosmic womb, the imagination, the place of play, the place of dreams the place we go to when we shuffle off this mortal coil. The in- visible world has no borders, it has not time, it has no masters. It is a place where we can all meet: each other, ourselves, archetypes and beings who have substance but no physical form. It can be reached through theatre, music, poetry, art, conscious sleep practices, ritual, psychedelic plants, breath work, yoga, prayer, orgasm and much more. It can be reached in isolation or as a group. As a Fool I aim to open up and enter it taking the whole audience with me.
Now look back at those two ‘O’s in the middle of The FOOL. Just let your eyes soft focus on them. Cross your eyes a little, (don’t worry you wont ‘stick like it’, though you might activate your third eye and re instate your inner tutor). Can you see how those two ‘O’s now resemble a horizontal figure of ‘8’? The Fool holds her finger on that crossing point between the 2 spheres and it is her job to flip it open and bring the 2 worlds together. This is the intersection between the inner world and the outer world. One sphere is for The Play and one sphere is for the audience who are all busy in their ‘A worlds/ A Plays’. The infinity symbol is an active symbol that requires us to open it up with one big ‘O (h)!’ so we can meet in infinity. Meet in The World.
Specifically as a Fool I make solo improvised shows that bring the whole audience together. I have been touring internationally under the title, “Women Who Wank’ for the past 5 years, a comical-tragical play that has had audiences across the UK and USA howling with laughter, tears and pleasure. The show aims at liberating, educating, entertaining, unifying and empowering the audience.Through warm and playful interactions with the audience I encourage, gather and create a surprising journey using the wisdom that is within the present audience.
Now, back to wanking.
Can a wank be spiritual? I would argue that it can. That in an orgasm our physical and spiritual energy surge and merge. That learning to cultivate, summon, ride the waves of orgasm unlocks reserves of strength, that can be clarifying and curative for both (visible and in-visible) bodies.
Whether or not this sounds preposterous, obvious or is just starting to chime a bell, Just the act of speculating about it is enough to start conjuring images and judgements in your mind that could launch many a sweet/ strong/ ridiculous/ soothsaying performance that I would play out on stage with the cooperation of your imagination.
Our bodies contain the genetic codes of all that has gone before us both in our personal experience and in that of our blood lines. Our cells remember everything. In my most emphatic moments I think it is our ‘duty’ to heal our sexuality. To release all ancestral and personal trauma through pleasure and play. To enter into and express the, primordial, unkempt, delicate, visceral, beautiful, grotesque and saintly filth of our sensual beings. As a way of healing ourselves, our past, our future and bringing back balance to the whole planet.
To bring our unseen shadow and our angelic self together makes us whole. We are the ‘wholly women’, that have been written out of so many scriptures.
This is my motivation to get up on a stage, time and time again, with nothing prepared but a provocative title, a curiosity about my audience and a sense of something beyond. I am one of the many zillions of pieces in this latest revolution of self knowledge. Playing my small part in sharing love of The Self.
In the sacred clown tradition, the fool is chosen by tribal elders when they are young, because they stand out amongst the other children for their unique sense of melancholia.
For The Fool to be at ease they must know them self as nothing.
I spent close to 15 years of my life in the shadow of an Archetype of Suicide, it possessed my thoughts and my fantasy’s. I was isolated wanking, nurturing my sense worthlessness. I imag(e)in-ed the whole world would be better of with out me. Although I only occasionally took action to try to end it all, my private prayer for self obliteration was never far from my lips.
In my late 20’s I trained with Jonathan Kay and The Nomadic Academy For Fools and through this work I finally became at ease with being nothing.
‘Nor I nor any man that but man is
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
With being nothing’
Act 5 Scene 5, Richard II
This is what liberated me to be able to play The Fool. If my base judgement of myself was that I was worthless- then I could be anything. I could be a channel. I had no face to lose.
Five years ago this week my Mum died, just after International Women’s Day. I was blessed to be able to spend some wonderful time with her in the last months of her life. Giving her Reiki and spiritual ease to help her to prepare for her onward journey back to source. In the 40 days after she passed I read to her and meditated for her and met her in Lucid dream. All the time encouraging her to let go, to involute and recognise her divinity with in. I spent this time sober as a judge.
This year I have begun to make a new theatre show called Dying on my Feet as I feel in someways Death is the last taboo.
My work as a Fool has helped me to feel comfortable and curious in the unknown which after all is all death is. An unknown interior non linear space that is not bound by time. It is to life what night is to day, what winter is to summer. I am not asking you to believe my rant but supposing it was true? What would there be to be scared of?
Yes of course we can just as easily summon and manifest demons and nightmares and give ourselves a hellish experience as we sleep or as we are dead… but supposing we could start fully waking up in our play and our night dreams maybe we would in turn die consciously and find pleasure in death? Supposing both Heaven and Hell exist in us and in the world all the time and are only kept at bay by our conscious mind and ego’s?
Supposing that whether we enter into one or other when we die does depend on how we live and how we love, but not whether we’d been good or bad. More, whether we had faced and accepted all parts of ourselves. I am currently running Fooling workshops exploring this idea.
Life without a body’s limitations could be fun! but only when it is in the time of things. If we contemplate on all the things that needed to collide and crunch and bloom in order to bring us here into physical form,you where you are and me here, it seems like nothing short of a miracle. When these two bodies are together you can move and share and laugh and cry and bring people together and entertain and that is worth living for.
To find out more, about future shows and what the press make of my work you can go to.