Sometimes you see a show and you have a brief, but intense emotional experience in the theatre and that’s great. While I definitely felt the emotions during the show, I’m going to be thinking about this show for years and I think others will as well.
I only wish I had a chance to see this one again!
Out of 100+ submissions for folks who wanted to be considered for the award I was giving out, this show moved to the top of the list based mostly on the line from the script it included in it’s marketing materials. “He’s the victim, Nick, and I’m the drunk girl.” Particularly with the #metoo movement, people make really strange (and often ineffective) choices when they talk about rape and sexual violence- it’s like there’s no attention paid to the very tangible ways these terrible experiences can be explored in the theatre. And specifically, there is often way more attention paid to the event than the aftermath, which is equally, and often more serious and necessary to explore.
I’ve never seen a show do anything like this- it was smart and well-executed. When you come into the theatre it’s dark and you see something that looks a little bit like a lit up coffin. The character who survives the rape performs a beautiful monologue font and center, but spends the rest of her time in a small pool with what seemed to be an inch or two of water. The pool continues to resemble a coffin- the character is alive, but is she really? Sometimes it’s almost like she’s not there- we can almost forget about her, but not quite. She has survived, but she has lost a part of herself, and on a literal level she has lost her freedom as she is confined to a hospital or institution of some kind, we later learn. Around her, life goes on, just on the other side of the stage- just on the other side of the glass she’s behind. Everyone tries to forget what happened and to forget her- and we hear her tell her side of the story over and over again- the way victims are forced to when they do have the courage to report. On the other side of the stage, we see how the events didn’t only affect her- we are all affected when rape happens in our periphery, whether we admit it or not.
This is the kind of theatre we need in regards to challenging topics, especially related to sexual violence.
The show was SUPER brief- it definitely stood alone and was complete- and it was an appropriate length for fringe. I’d love for there to be a longer version, particularly because I was thinking about the way it feels to work out and how a certain amount of reps and time need to be devoted to truly work the muscle. In this subject where people, in general, are under or misinformed, I think they could use some more reps to help build that muscle of understanding this topic. I think there are some parts of the script that could use some more development, but I think a lot of that would get evened out if some time and a little more story and time was added.
Proud to award Still the Conversation Creation Award sponsored by That’s What She Didn’t Say and The Outdoor Voices Festival.