Produced, written, directed, and performed by force-of-nature movement alchemist Hannah Tasker-Poland, with the live musical wizardry of internationally renowned composer and musician Lucien Johnson, The Most Naked is steeped in mesmerising dance artistry, subversive theatre, spectacular live music, and political eroticism.
Hannah is a highly regarded dance artist, choreographer, stage and screen actor, avant-garde burlesque/fetish artist, SPFX performance specialist, stunt performer, accredited Intimacy Coordinator & Director, model and muse with over 20 years experience in the industry. Here she explores her feelings behind the production and how her identity has helped to shape it.
‘Alongside my almost 20-year body of work in dance, theatre, film and TV, I’ve been creating and performing in the burlesque/fetish/cabaret/erotica spaces for well over a decade. This has allowed me to push the edges of what might be considered risqué, provocative or extreme in live performance, to celebrate and recontextualise how we perceive nudity/the naked body, and to hone my personal understanding of how I perceive sexuality, sensuality, intimacy and eroticism, particularly through a queer, feminist lens.
This is also one of the ways in which I strive to do my part in the continued positive representation, reclamation and straight-up uprising of spaces and people I am part of and have strong connections to, such as women’s, LGBTQIA+ and sex worker communities.
My most potent tool for connection, expression and storytelling is my body and my physical/visual performance. It’s the space I have the most control, skill and articulation and where I can access the most impact and power.
Over the years, I’ve played with how I can use my body to blend all the art forms I’m involved in, to create work which speaks to the fascination of women’s/femmes bodies, and subverts and celebrates eroticism that at times, is dark and gritty and messy and confronting, but aims to uphold the values of autonomy and agency at its core. When I decide to present and/or embody themes of eroticism or sexuality, I’m saying “Yes, I give permission to be viewed in this way.”
The title The Most Naked actually began as a running joke. Not only do I employ nudity a lot in the performances I create, but I would somehow end up naked on almost all the professional work I do – whether dance, theatre, film, tv, stunts, I would so often be called in to be ‘the naked person.’ So I decided to play on this, and play on perpetuating AND subverting my own stereotype and the types of roles people were used to seeing me in – the sexy girl, the bad girl, the most naked one. How can we toy with the audience’s expectations and these obsessions we have, overseeing skin or covering skin?
I’ve been so close to nudity and nakedness in so many different ways and spaces that it has allowed me this incredibly rich history of experiences to draw from. The body is a work of art, a thing that can be adorned, painted and shapeshifted into an entirely different thing. It is also a structure, a vessel for physical movement, a glorious mass that can propel across a stage or within the confines of a photograph to tell a story or evoke an emotion. It is a sensory playground of pain, pleasure and all in between. And, it is also this very ordinary, everyday, unremarkable thing. It’s a body. We all have one. In various shapes, sizes, colours and textures. This boring, perfunctory thing, a mass of bone, sinew, muscle, blood and flesh that we have loaded all this social conditioning onto.
Women are funny. Sex and nudity is funny. And weird. And silly. We can tend to get so serious and sincere about sexiness that it becomes farcical, ridiculous. I love how we, our bodies and our personal sexuality or eroticism can exist in so many different ways, and silliness is one of these.
Then, in The Most Naked, the subversion and shapeshifting comes in. The rage, the fury, the outright fucking ugliness and brutal cacophony of salt, sweat, tears, piss and spit purge, exorcise and expel from the body in a whirlwind of chaos.
Here we see the “other” of what being naked may mean – stripped back, raw, honest, vulnerable, animalistic – and the ways in which the body responds to the ideas.
So what is being The Most Naked? To me, it has very little to do with how much or how little someone is wearing. It’s that raw, guttural, primal expression of the self.’
The Most Naked runs 13 – 17 June at Q Theatre
Photo Credit: Ivan Muller