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THIS IMPORTANT FEMINIST WORK IS BACK IN TOWN

Traverse Theatre

Gary McNair has created quite a provoking production for the stage. It’s a spoken word piece that’s inspired by the misogynistic comments made by Donald Trump a couple of years ago that got leaked to the public. But these statements were just dismissed as locker room talk, and now here he is the leader of the free world!

McNair (amongst many) was shocked when he heard this toxic talk, and in collaboration with the Traverse managed to create this rather thought provoking piece. He essentially uses this actual salacious recording as the overture to his production and it was sort of even more alarming as Trump’s voice ethereally comes across this black box stage!

The essence of this experience is that McNair went about with a mobile recorder to all sorts of places (be it gyms, boiler rooms and even doctor’s offices) to find out how some men talk about women when they are not around. The men knew they were being recorded, they knew that what they said was going to be produced as a play but because they were given anonymity they let loose with some shocking stuff.

One of the more creative aspects to this production is the fact that that McNair and director Orla O’Loughlin have a cast of four women wearing head phones where they repeat these conversations as they hear them! Be it men scoring women from one to ten or in a more complex fashion. But it does go to darker territories too. I think there is one area, in which we hear the words from a criminal that’s maybe pushing it too far to get a reaction, as it lacks the common man approach that McNair has set up.

This show has become a great instrument for feminism, but at its core; is it not that this type of talk is toxic regardless of sex? It could very well be about race or creed too. But in relation to sex, I think there is a point missed here. I know that vulgar behaviour of this nature is not just exclusive to men. If we were to talk about the amount of demeaning chat of what I heard from men and what I’ve overheard of women, I’d say it was on the whole equal. In a matter of fact I’ve probably heard the scoring system done on men more than I’ve ever heard it done on women. It’s true; it could just be the company I keep, as I’ve always had quite the mix of male and female companions. But I’d be interested if McNair and O’Loughlin were maybe to do a one off scene. A scene portrayed by a male cast reciting some derogatory chat from women.

This kind of leads me to the penultimate scene that proved very popular with the audience, as it has these ideas coming out of the mouths of babes. The women on stage get into character and they recite what was discussed amongst little boys in the playground. Certainly the wee laddies are not being vulgar, but there is very much this aspect of “us” and “them”. And that I think is where a lot of this behaviour stems from. Be it before the baby is even out of their mother’s womb they are already being set up into barriers. Be it with colours or toys. If the girl wants to play with the action figure, let her play with the action figure or if the boy wants to play with the dollhouse, let him play with the dollhouse.

I know it’s not as easy as that and there is still some way to go. But there is always a discussion afterwards, so why not head on down and have your say at this rather powerful performance.

Markus Helbig.

 

Date & Time
Wed 4 – Sat 7 Apr, 7.30pm

Tickets
Full price £12
Standard concession £10.50
Under 30s / Student £9
Other concession £6

 

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