Premiering as part of the RSC's Making Mischief season, Revolt. She said. Revolt again was commissioned as a response to the notion that well behaved women seldom make history. And the resultant hour of drama shows that it's the rule-breaking playwrights who make ripples.
Seven tangentially connected scenes span relatable romance to freely associated musings on watermelons and murdering all males. Four actors shift roles, until the form derails and they become voices and streams of consciousness rather than defined characters. If that sounds challenging, that's because it is. But Revolt. She said. Revolt again balances the avant-garde form with a keen sense of humanity and immediacy.
First we revolutionise the language. A man tells his lover that she's perfect, that her beauty has bewitched him, that he wants to 'do' things to her. She takes this familiar, facile stream and subverts it: 'you spread your legs', she demands. He wants to screw her, but she is 'spannering him'. As it escalates, the dialogue is as raucously funny and unflinching. But it lingers too.
In the sharp surrealism of this woman creating her own erotic vocabulary, we are confronted with the innate passivity of the accepted lexicon around female sexuality. This devious deployment of language as symptom, cause and evidence of female repression weaves through the series of separate scenarios.
Birch's dramatic world is uncompromising and all-encompassing. Marriage, body image, motherhood, employment laws, rape all add fuel to the revolution. As each scene shifts, the narrative cuts deeper and the chaos mounts.
The feminist call to arms is delivered with the kind of force that renders an audience dazed and wordless. Yet it's the splash of strangeness that stops Revolt from becoming too heavy-handed. The message comes from symbols and linguistic flourishes, put in place to refresh the audience's disbelief at the little injustices we accept as 'normal'. It explores the rousing spirit of revolution without ever over-simplying or dismissing the obstacles.
|What||Revolt. She said. Revolt again, Shoreditch Town Hall review|
|Where||Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Old Street (underground)|
31 Aug 16 – 17 Sep 16, 7:45 PM – 8:55 PM
|Price||£5 - £15|
|Website||Click here to book via Shoreditch Town Hall|