Three women clad in long white dresses fall through the darkness, ethereal beings drifting through time and space, icons of demure femininity straight out of Picnic at Hanging Rock. Except that they are three women who have been friends for 10 years, perching on poles and re-creating years of their mundane, private conversations.
Ich Nibber Dibber is a celebration of female friendships. Post, which is a collaborative trio of performers – Natalie Rose, Mish Grigor and Zoë Coombs Marr – perfects the tone of the piece, which is that of the small hours of the morning after everyone else has gone home from the party. It’s confessional, inane, meandering and funny, but with hints of pathos and reflection.
Their conversation is, as the show notes describe, “a colossal act of self-examination.” For the most part, they are spouting the drivel that most of us are glad we can’t remember. But post has recoded those conversations – ones that wander from poo to drugs to relationships to marriage to sexuality and back to poo again – and it is a fascinating exercise to see ten years’ worth of them play out on stage. It is exposing because it is so normal, and the very fact that it exposes and critiques the conversations of women’s most private relationships makes it radical and political.
Ably assisted by dramaturg Anne-Louise Sarks, the three women all lean into distinct characters, but they also work beautifully together as a unit, and as the ‘years’ wear on, they morph into an almost-family. By eschewing topics that are usually taboo in polite female conversation, post has created a work that is subversive yet ethereal, that straddles current feminist debate but also stretches into that wriggly post-feminist land where things are less clear, but equally interesting.
Fausto Brusamolino’s lighting and Michael Hankin’s set and costume design are simple but work together to evoke the profane-profound world of conversation. James Brown’s sound design and composition both sucks us into the world and cleverly disrupts our comfort.
Ich Nibber Dibber is a show that wears its work lightly – this is not just a mindless conversation; it is a biting examination of the treatment of women, what it means to be looked at and witnessed – but its unrelenting humour, self-deprecation and joy makes it one of the more enjoyable things you will see this year. Part stand-up, part diary entry, and part theatre, it is a deft celebration of enduring female friendship.