McCormick and her Girl Squad boys run amuck in this whistlestop of the New Testament: as an affirmation of agency over our queer/female bodies, and in defiance of an ecclesiastical canon of morality politics and re/oppression.
Triple Threat drives McCormick’s indefatigable lack of inhibition right into our societal schemata of disgust, offense and body-squeamishness – in this country historically interwoven with Christian teaching and the influence of the Church. Her retelling of the story of Doubting Thomas - ‘reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side’ (John 20:27, King James) – culminates in anal digital penetration. We applaud the hilarity and the shock – can you believe she took it that far?? – but accept as comic foil the actual scriptural basis, where Jesus invites Thomas to put his hands inside the still-gaping wounds from his crucifixion. An authentic restaging of that passage would probably be a bit much for even the most bloodwork-hardened Fringe-goer.
For all the prudishness of their most ardent followers, religious texts are awash with bodily functions, pain, blood and sex. Their rituals provide ripe ground for reappropriation, by and for the bodies marginalised and policed by their archaic, literal interpretation. This reappropriation is especially urgent in the work of queer artists, such as Ron Athey whose performance offers abject resistance to the US government’s (lack of) response to the 80s/90s HIV epidemic. Deploying different devices and affects, Triple Threat makes a playground of the stand-off between religious conservatism and queer and women’s sexualities and bodies; as necessary as ever with religious institutions and individuals still lobbying “pro-life” but against the availability of PrEP. (HM)
Triple Threat is on at 20.10 at Underbelly Cowgate until August 28th (not 15th or 22nd). Hearing Loop, BSL - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/lucy-mccormick-triple-threat
On GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN, the performance collective McCormick constitues one third of: http://www.getinthebackofthevan.com/the-van/
Owen Jones in The Guardian on PrEP and valuing gay lives: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/02/nhs-prep-hiv-drugs-gay-mens-lives
The Herald on the Church's blocking of efforts to halt the spread of AIDS in the 80s: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14631879.Churches_opposed_efforts_to_halt_AIDS_deaths_in_1980s_Scotland__secret_papers_reveal/
Blog on the policing of women’s bodies and modesty, on Patheos (dedicated to discussion of issues around faith): www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2012/12/modesty-body-policing-and-rape-culture-connecting-the-dots/
Pleading in the Blood, on the performance work of Ron Athey: http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/publishing/pleading-in-the-blood-the-art-of-ron-athey