In the demonstration room in Summerhall, a girl is suspended from the ceiling, bound in an elaborate shibari knot pattern like an enormous spider. Her mother, dressed in a hot pink trouser suit steps forward and tells us not to look at her. This acts as the set up for this tale of generational struggle, tangled up in second and third-wave feminism.
The girl begins to speak, unwrapping herself from the ties that bind her. She talks of discovering she was beautiful, how the gaze on her changed like she was always wearing face paint, a thing to be looked at. A meditation on a perfectly formed wildflower cinches the metaphor. Beauty is not a quality, but a feeling that it instils in the beholder. Therefore, beauty belongs to the beholder, it is theirs to give and take away.
The two proceed to hash it out on the ropes. Masie Taylor who plays Olivia is trained in aerial and drifts up them like a dandelion seed, weightless and effortless. At times the inclusion of all the ariel work can feel shoehorned in. At others it works beautifully, showing Olivia’s fearlessness and the support and tension between the two.