Revolt.  She said.  Revolt Again.

2016REVOLTS_N5

Theatre

Traverse Theatre

Venue 15

Various times

16 – 28, not 15

***

 Potatoes – lots of potatoes.  Bluebells [artificial]. Watermelon – hatcheted open.  Red paint splashed on the wall, fire extinguisher blasting out smoke, red ‘vomit’ splurging everywhere.

 

“The first 25 minutes were OK, and after that it went downhill” (overheard on my way out) – well, that’s a relief, I wasn’t the only person feeling less than enthusiastic about this contribution from the RSC.

 

What was it trying to say?  There was a lot of shouting, a lot of bitterness and anger, a lot of loud holding forth with no attempt to hear what the other person was saying, a lot of “I know (better than you) what you meant when you were saying xxx” but I couldn’t see the point of most of it.

 

Empty despair at the end – a wilderness where we thought we had mountains and rolling hills.  There was laughter on stage – or was it corpseing that got out of control [if so, what were they laughing at?]

 

People were saying things that revealed their inner hurt – but simply shouting out their anger and abuse at another person, making no attempt to talk or to listen.  Is that what is seen to be the only way to get through to those who have hurt us?

 

Purportedly this play “examines the language, behaviour and forces that shape women in the 21st century and asks what’s stopping us from doing something truly radical to change them”.  Well, somehow I missed that…

 

I heard a man being uncomfortable when a woman responded to his verbal sexual advances with aggressive advances of her own; a woman saying she was insulted by her partner’s proposal of marriage (“you didn’t say that” was her constant response to his attempt to explain); a boss who refused to hear her employee’s statement that she wanted to not work on Mondays, thinking that by offering new and ‘better’ inducements she could get her to change her mind.  Then things started to go downhill as a woman wrapped in a blanket was insulted by workers in a supermarket because she behaved inappropriately, undoubtedly because of a mental health problem; a daughter blasted her mother with the hurt she felt at having been left when she was only four while her own daughter was slowly falling apart in front of her eyes; and all four cast members talked over, around and through each other in a disjointed and unintelligible way… A miserable defeatist monologue and an implication that there needed to be a revolution which would result in the extermination of all men closed the show.

 

Not a happy piece: I have no idea what it was trying to say, and I don’t feel that it gave any pointers as to what to do: I think the message I got was “life is shit, people are shit to each other, and that’s it”. Did I miss something???

 

Postscript: having spoken to my neighbour at this morning’s first show, she felt it was a completely brilliant show, with the possible exception of its closing moments; that it perfectly expressed the violence done to women by the current way language is used, and that nothing short of radical action would effect any sort of change.  I mentioned that I was a Quaker, and didn’t experience the things she was talking of: she said she had taught for a month at a Quaker school and been deeply impressed by the respect and consideration pupils showed for each other as a matter of course.  So maybe there’s the explanation for why I didn’t ‘get it’ – and possibly a solution too…

 

Go to the show and make up your own mind, why don’t you?

Mary Woodward