Paradise in the Vault (Venue 29)
August 6th to 20th (not 14)
This really disturbing story tells us of a woman in Norway in the ‘70s who was subjected to what was then seen as a new and valuable therapy.
We first see Lotta expressing how strongly her husband’s touch repels her. She has been married for two years, her husband is enthusiastic about starting a family, and gets on very well with her parents. How can she say no? But that is what the whole of her being cries out to say. She has had deep secret longings for women since childhood, and has a secret cache of images of women.
The couple go to a therapist. She talks of a new therapy, a touch therapy, whereby Lotta will have guided intercourse in the counselling rooms, with her being encouraged to take the initiative. After six months of coercive sex, of effective rape, she rebels.
It is shocking to realise that this happened such a short time ago in a country widely regarded as liberal. The journey from where Lotta is at the start of this short play to her final statement is a long one. Because this drama has to compress a long and complex story into a brief time slot we do seem to jump from stage to stage of her story. This material could be very fruitfully developed into a longer, more developed and individualised piece. What we have here seems rather like the dramatisation of a therapeutic case study.
We must hope that, terrible as is the situation in many countries today, significantly fewer women have this sort of experience now than did then.