I recently saw the show STOMP. The performers appeared with brooms and began making music. They played garbage cans, bic lighters, grocery carts, matchboxes, plastic bags, and PVC pipes among other things. It was loud, clever and … well …percussive.
About ten minutes into the show I noticed I was watching one of the performers more than the others. About five minutes after that I realized why. She was a woman. Actually there were two women in the company. One played percussion the way I imagined I would…she wasn’t restrained but she played nicely as if she wanted to make just enough noise but not too much. I realized that I feel primed by my culture and upbringing to expect that this is the way women make noise.
The female performer I was drawn too, though, was banging on her drum (garbage can, broom, pipes, etc) like her life depended on it. She was pounding with her mallet as hard as she could, with the energy and strength of her whole body behind every strike.
Wow, I thought, she’s not afraid to really make some noise. Her performance was absolutely riveting and it made we want to do some stomping of my own.
I am a quiet person by nature and by habit. I like a quiet house and a quiet workplace. I’m not fond of jackhammers, heavy metal, airplane engines or leaf blowers. I’m not inclined to call attention to myself with yelling, whistling, or banging garbage can lids together.
But the woman in STOMP made me think. Are there times when I’m quiet when I secretly want to make a noise? And I don’t mean just sounds but stories, images in art, any kind of self-expression.
As women, I think we especially need to ask ourselves this question: Are they places in my life I want to be making more “noise?” I’m on the look-out for this in my own life.
The next time I feel like I’m holding something in that wants to come shouting out, I’m going to think of STOMP and how joyfully that woman made noise.
PS: if you haven’t seen STOMP you can find information about the New York and traveling show here. If you’d like to learn how to make music STOMP-style you can download PDF instructions for making cool sounds with everyday objects from the STOMP website.